Mugabe Says MDC Will Never Rule Zimbabwe

Tererai Karimakwenda, SW Radio Africa (London), 24 March 2008

After twice postponing his Bulawayo star rally because his organisers had failed to mobilise large crowds, Robert Mugabe finally addressed a small crowd of about 2000 supporters on Sunday. Our Bulawayo correspondent Zenzele, who attended the rally, said Mugabe told the crowd that if they voted for the MDC it would be a waste of their time because the MDC would never rule Zimbabwe. Zenzele said there were many people at the rally who were bused in from other areas, some coming from resettled areas like Umguza. He said the rally was supposed to start at 10:00 that morning, but Mugabe arrived late and only spoke to his hungry supporters around 3:00 P.M.

Buses that had brought outsiders to the rally were used to ferry some supporters to the next rally at a primary school, leaving many stranded. The road from the stadium was lined with angry people trying to get a lift back home.

Zenzele said Mugabe went into his usual attack on the opposition, particularly the Tsvangirai MDC and he told his supporters that he will not leave office if Tsvangirai wins the elections. Our correspondent said there were officials from the SADC observer mission at the rally who heard these comments and he hopes they noted this with concern. Ironically in the same speech, Mugabe said he was not the dictator that western powers label him to be.

Earlier on Sunday had Mugabe attended a service at the Apostolic Faith Mission church in Lobengula surburb. Zenzele said the church was half empty, with some regular church goers saying they did not want to be associated with ZANU-PF. The church pastor gave the excuse that it was a holiday and some people had travelled to their rural homelands.

Mugabe told the congregation that in line with the policy of indigenization, the church should be "Africanised" and run by black Zimbabweans without interference from outsiders. He also promised that he would give the church a farm, continuing what has been described as his "vote buying tactics".

According to our correspondent Mugabe had been scheduled to address supporters at Cowdry Park last Thursday. This is an area of Bulawayo where ZANU-PF gave houses to their own supporters, that were meant to be given to the displaced victims of Operation Murambatsvina. The rally was postponed to this week Thursday without any reason given.

Many ZANU-PF supporters around the country have become disillusioned with the ruling party as the economy continues to deteriorate. Some observers say "nzara yaruma" meaning "hunger is now biting" and that is why Zimbabweans, including die-hard ZANU-PF members, want change.

From: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news240308/mugssupporters240308.htm

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