ZIMBABWE – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he will soon encourage his followers to storm grain depots and other food aid distribution centres around the country to demand for food which they were being systematically denied by the Zanu PF led government.
“We in the MDC have had our supporters being denied food hand-outs in most parts of the country because of their political affiliation,” Tsvangirai said during a media briefing at his party’s headquarters in central Harare on Friday.
“In parts of Manicaland, our people have had to storm GMB depots and bravely demanded that food hand-outs be given in a non-partisan manner.”
The former Prime Minister slammed his arch rivals in government for mishandling the current food crisis threatening nearly three million Zimbabweans.
This, he said, was seen in President Robert Mugabe’s belated decision to declare this year’s drought catastrophe as a state of emergency.
Tsvangirai took umbrage at his supporters’ continued denial of government and non-governmental organisations sourced food by partisan traditional chiefs and district administrators in the country’s rural areas.
“There is indeed going to be huge national demand for transparency and non-partisan distribution of food by our supporters in parts of the country,” he said.
“If Zanu PF continues to hand out food on a partisan basis, then we will tell our people to demand food and to access that food, even if it means to be arrested for demanding food.
“… how does a government or any right thinking person think that you can distribute food on a partisan basis and allow people to starve without even question, even if one is docile, when it comes to food, I see people standing up.
“Zanu PF should stand warned that we have told our supporters throughout the country to be vigilant and to boldly demand their share of what they should legitimately get from government.”
Zim a threat to SADC security
Tsvangirai warned the international community not to mistake the current semblance of calm in troubled Zimbabwe as a sign of satisfaction among citizens.
He said the bottled up anger among citizens could soon erupt into a security crisis that can engulf the entire southern African region.
Said the MDC-T leader; “Beyond the deceptive veneer of a stable country is a monumental crisis of multiple proportions that could implode any moment.
“Due to this government’s culture of repression and its unique capacity to successfully prevent people from expressing themselves, it would be folly for Africa and the world at large to mistake the people’s induced silence as a sign of stability in the country.
“What the world needs to appreciate is that when Zimbabweans eventually express themselves – as they certainly will in the not-so-distant future – the implosion will engulf the entire SADC region.
“The current false peace is just calm before the storm. Given the worsening situation, it is only a matter of time before things come to a head; and the international community should take heed.”
Tsvangirai also urged the international community, which has shown renewed interest to reengage Zimbabwe, not to do so blindly but to first demand democratic reforms from the Zanu PF government.
Commenting on proposed coalition with his erstwhile colleagues, Tsvangirai said he was still open to dialogue to give opposition forces the much-needed numerical edge to defeat Zanu PF in crucial elections due in 2018.
He was however quick to say he will not bow down to unrealistic demands by intellectually gifted individuals with no grassroots support.
The MDC-T leader had no kind words for local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere whom he accused of arbitrarily dismissing elected MDC-T councillors and usurping their powers to advance Zanu PF’s political interests.