Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Mugabe, Tsvangirai trade insults

by Staff reporter
12 Jul 2013 at 09:01hrs | Views
MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday described President Robert Mugabe as a "national liability", saying at nearly 90 years, the Zanu-PF leader had long gone past retirement age and should pass the baton to young and energetic leaders.

On the other hand, Mugabe and his wife Grace mocked Tsvangirai about his looks.

Addressing close to 1 000 people at a campaign rally at Neuso business centre in Mhondoro, Mashonaland West province, Tsvangirai said he doubted Mugabe's agility to run for another five-year term.

Mugabe turns 90 next February.

"I cannot avoid talking about Mugabe's age. It is a serious national issue. The old man needs to rest because at 90 years he should be enjoying his pension. We can't trust a 90-year-old to run this country for another five years. I gave him four years to pack. Now it's time for him to go and rest in Zvimba (Mugabe's rural home) while an energetic, young and responsive government leads Zimbabwe into the future," Tsvangirai said.

This came as Mugabe told about 10 000Zanu-PF supporters at a campaign rally at Nzvimbo growth point in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central, that the MDC-T-run Finance ministry deliberately refused to fund Zanu-PF-initiated programmes, including the agricultural sector and general elections, to discredit him and his party.

"Small-scale farmers need assistance as do industries which have crumbled. All these were not being supported because the Finance ministry was in the hands of MDC. They did not want Zanu-PF-initiated programmes. Even our children on scholarships were not being funded all in an effort to humiliate Mugabe and Zanu-PF. We do not want to go back to the unity government," Mugabe said in apparent reference to the shaky coalition government brokered by Sadc following a disputed 2008 election result.

In Mhondoro, Tsvangirai, however, said: "Mugabe did some things right. It is his legacy. But now we are saying go and rest. There is nothing wrong with that. Mugabe's problem is old age. He forgets that the GNU (Government of National Unity) was crafted for him and not for Tsvangirai who had won the election.

"Mugabe's henchmen from the police, army and CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) are coming to me informing me on the things to watch out for. I know everything. I can even tell you what he has eaten today. If you want to vote for Mugabe, it's your choice, but it will go into the Guinness Book of Records that the people of Zimbabwe have given a 90-year-old man five more years to rule the country."

Party secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti, at the same rally, said the MDC-T only agreed to join the coalition government with Zanu-PF on humanitarian grounds following nearly 30 years of economic plunder by the latter.

"Supermarkets were closed, the Zimdollar was worthless, hospitals had shut down and schools had been turned into terror bases, but all that has changed. There is more to come once we get into government without the interference of Zanu-PF," Biti said.

On the other side, Mugabe and his wife Grace took turns ridiculing Tsvangirai's looks with Grace saying: "He (Tsvangirai) is ugly both facially and in his heart. When Baba (Mugabe) first met him physically, he came home trembling and I asked him what the problem was to which he (Mugabe) said he had never seen someone that ugly."

The First Lady later doled out foodstuffs and T-shirts to party supporters at the rally.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai was yesterday forced to cancel his campaign rallies scheduled for Murombedzi business centre and Chinhoyi after police allegedly denied him clearance.

Both centres are located in Mugabe's backyard with Murombedzi just 10km from his rural home. 

Source - newsday