MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai addressing mourners at the funeral of his party’s youthful activist, Rebecca Mafikeni
By Professor Matodzi and Simplicius Chirinda
Harare, August 14, 2013 – Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday disclosed that President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party is courting him with the aim of forming a hybrid government and labeled the octogenarian leader’s claim to victory the “biggest fraud”.
In a graveside speech at the funeral of his party supporter, Rebecca Mafikeni, aged 29, who passed away on Monday after falling ill while incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Prison on charges of murdering a police officer, Tsvangirai revealed that Mugabe’s Zanu PF party had made some overtures for him and his party to form a coalition government.
“We have said to them if you won the election let’s see how you are going to govern. Now that they have stolen the election, they now want to talk to Tsvangirai but we have nothing to talk about. You have to solve your legitimacy question first and the only solution for the people of Zimbabwe is to go back to another free and fair election,” said Tsvangirai to cheers from his party supporters, who thronged Warren Hills cemetery in Harare’s Warren Park suburb to pay their last respects to Mafikeni.
He said Mugabe’s controversial victory declared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in last month’s harmonised election was a monumental fraud.
“We are mourning here but we are in national mourning over an election which represents the biggest fraud this country has ever seen even in the whole world. Mugabe and Zanu PF know that they stole this election,” Tsvangirai said.
According to ZEC, Mugabe won the presidential election with 61 percent of the vote while the former trade union leader garnered about 34 percent.
Tsvangirai scoffed at Mugabe’s pledges to hike civil servants’ salaries and lower water and electricity tariffs.
“It is just rhetoric without substance,” he said.
The MDC leader encouraged his restive youthful party supporters to resist the urge to commit violence in protest over the alleged stolen election.
“This old man has a problem of being power hungry, let’s not act in emotion, let’s act with conviction because that’s what will bring change. We can’t do much but we will not burn the house,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, MDC-T chairperson for Harare Province Paul Madzore held the state accountable for the death of the MDC activist, who marked her past two birthdays in solitary confinement at Chikurubi Maximum Prison in Harare.
“We are saddened that Rebecca died in the hands of the state probably with shackles on her body,” said Madzore.
For his part the party’s national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa described Mafikeni as a “cadre” who died fighting for the democratic cause.
“She defended the party even when she was being forced to accuse some senior MDC party members for killing a policeman in Glen View,” said Chamisa.
In his address, MDC-T national youth assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore, who was incarcerated together with Mafikeni on the same charges but was later freed on bail appeared to be daring Zanu PF saying Mugabe’s party must not mistake his party supporters’ calmness for fear.
“We have a funeral here but if it continues like this then we won’t be pained by the struggle to free Zimbabwe. We don’t want to be pushed into violence but let not anyone mistake our calmness for passivity,” said Madzore.
Rebecca’s mother told mourners that the late MDC-T activist was her family’s bread winner and pleaded with the party to continue supporting her family.
“Rebecca was the pillar of strength for my family. I cry today because I didn’t know that she had so many friends. I have lost my hero, my keeper, my husband, my father and my everything has been taken away by Zanu PF, now I wonder who will look after me,” she said in her graveside speech.
Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court will on Saturday hear an election petition filed by Tsvangirai challenging the election results in which ZEC declared Mugabe as the winner.
The MDC-T leader has demanded that the electoral authorities hand over to him registers of assisted voters at all polling stations, where people cast their votes during the elections. He alleged that a high number of assisted voters were forced to feign illiteracy and other excuses so that they could be assisted by some Zanu PF officials to cast their votes in favour of President Mugabe’s party even though they supported his MDC-T party.
The former trade union leader has also demanded unlimited access to all the presidential election materials used in the harmonised elections held on July 31 and to be furnished with the full set of presidential results per constituency, copies of the voters’ roll used in all the polling stations including the one used in the special voting process held in mid-July.