|Biti speaks at the Tsvangirai Memorial Lecture in Nyanyadzi|
…says 2008 was late veteran opposition leader’s greatest achievement
MUTARE - MDC vice president Tendai Biti has praised former party president, the late Morgan Tsvangirai as a champion of the struggle for democracy whose name will forever be remembered.
Speaking during a Morgan Tsvangirai Memorial Lecture in Nyanyadzi recently, Biti said Tsvangirai had done what many had deemed unthinkable by defeating Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF in the first round of the March 2008 elections.
“The 2008 elections were president Tsvangirai’s greatest achievement. He won resoundingly by over 70 percent and Mugabe admitted to this fact.
“Mugabe knew he had lost and wanted to hand over power but his henchman refused and had to play with the figures so that Tsvangirai would not have the 50 percent plus one vote majority needed to win the elections outright,” said Biti.
The March 29, 2008 harmonised elections saw Tsvangirai coming closer to taking over power after polling 47.87 percent against former Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe’s 43.24 percent.
The country was, however, made to wait for more than five weeks by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) which did not announce election results amid allegations that the electoral body was cooking up results to rescue Mugabe by reducing Tsvangirai’s victory margin so that a run-off could be declared.
Biti said Tsvangirai agreed to the June 27, 2008, election run-off though he knew he had won the first round but had to pull out to save his supporters who were being killed by Zanu PF with the help of the army and other security agencies.
“We all know what happened in June of 2008 during the presidential run-off. President Tsvangirai agreed to the run-off even though he knew he had won resoundingly.
“Zanu PF unleashed terror on our people and many were killed while others were left with life-changing injuries. Women were raped and babies were cut out from pregnant women. This was the brutality unleashed on our people.
“Being a selfless leader, president Tsvangirai had to pull out of the run-off to save his people and had to agree to a Government of National Unity,” said Biti.
MDC Manicaland secretary for communications, David Panganai told TellZim News that the memorial lecture was the starting point in MDC's efforts to establish a Morgan Richard Tsvangirai school of ideology.
"The role played by the late Morgan Tsvangirai in fighting for democracy in the country is indelible. The party's resolution is to start a school of ideology in his honour,” said Panganai.