OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused President Robert Mugabe of privatising the country, making a few political elites enjoy at the expense of the majority.
Addressing mourners at the burial of former Gutu Senator Empire Makamure on Sunday, Tsvangirai said: “The country belongs to the people, not an individual. If you privatise a country, then there is something wrong. During a recent countrywide tour, I asked people to show by raising their hands those who were willing to defend the country if attacked by Mozambique, but nobody volunteered.
“Why do people not want to sacrifice again when they sacrificed in the war of liberation? They said we must be a country that recognises freedoms of people, it is not good to have independence without freedom. They said we cannot volunteer to die for a country when that country is privatised as a handful are enjoying while the majority is suffering.”
He said he once asked Mugabe why he would not step down and the Zanu-PF leader expressed fear that Zanu-PF members would “tear each other apart”.
“I once asked Mugabe why he would never leave the throne and rest and he said: ‘You will see it. If I leave my party now with how it is like, they will tear each other apart.’ So will he swallow the country?” Tsvangirai asked.
“We should have a lesson to pass on the baton. We should know when to leave. It is about passing on the baton. If I rule, there should come a time when I go and rest and enjoy with my wife and grandchildren, away from the pressure of politics.”
He urged Zanu-PF members not to beat up opposition supporters or deny them food aid.
“Ever since the MDC’s formation, it seems like it is Tsvangirai and Mugabe fighting. That is not the issue. It is about your choice, your life. Those saying to MDC supporters, ‘go and get food aid from Tsvangirai’ are wrong,” Tsvangirai said.
“We formed the MDC to choose between the ballot and the bullet. We chose the ballot. We don’t want violence. Everyone should have a choice in the ballot.”
Makamure died after an asthma attack at his house at Gutu-Mpandawana growth point. He was buried in Makamure village, Gutu East.
At the time of his death, he was the MDC-T provincial secretary for education.
He is survived by six children and 14 grandchildren.