Tsvangirai hits campaign trail as Mugabe dithers

Thursday, 11 July 2013  SW Radio Africa

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been travelling to solicit votes for the upcoming elections on July 31st.

On Sunday he was in Marondera for the launch of his party's manifesto and on Tuesday he made his way to Mashonaland central, where he addressed hundreds of supporters at roadside rallies.

He also addressed supporters at stop-over rallies along his route in the province, a ZANU PF stronghold and once a no-go area for the MDC-T. Tsvangirai held rallies in Rushinga and Bindura and made stop-over appearances in Mt Darwin and Madziwa.

Tsvangirai is urging Zimbabweans to come out in huge numbers and elect leaders of their choice. His message so far has been that the MDC-T and their coalition partners are committed to selling the right policies, as opposed to the name calling and dirty tricks employed by their rivals.

'As MDC-T, we want to assure everyone that we will conduct peaceful campaigns across the country, selling the right message to Zimbabweans,' he said.

At his rally in Chipadze, Bindura, the Premier told his party supporters that President Robert Mugabe, 89 years-old, confided in him during one of their regular Monday meetings that he wanted to rest but is being forced into an early election by hardliners in ZANU PF.

Other observers have commented that Mugabe is playing mind games with his main rival and has every intention of holding on to power for as long as he can.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister was on the campaign trail in Mvurwi and Glendale. Mugabe has yet to begin his electioneering campaign, reportedly because of problems with his presidential helicopter.

It is believed the only operational Super Puma helicopter based with the 8th squadron at Manyame air base is undergoing a service while the other one was damaged in crash some time back, under the control of Squadron leader Luke Mupesa.

Before Mugabe started using the Super Puma, he had spent years using the Augusta 412 Bell helicopters. These have since been decommissioned for presidential use.

SW Radio Africa has been informed the Airforce of Zimbabwe is in the process of training its technicians and pilots for a new set of VIP helicopters from Russia.

Rarely has Mugabe travelled in a motorcade for distances further than Chinhoyi and Marondera.

He has always used air transport and at 89 years of age it's going to be a major challenge to embark on the grueling campaign that has been planned, with 10 star rallies to be held in the country's provincial capitals. On Wednesday the Polituburo convened an emergency meeting to decide on the rally dates. Some reports suggested that the Polituburo was also concerned about Mugabe's health and debating what to do.

ZANU PF did not disclose if Mugabe would address all the rallies.



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