MARONDERA – The usually sleepy town of Marondera was painted red by jubilant MDC supporters who thronged Rudhaka Stadium on Sunday to witness the launch of the party’s manifesto.
Supporters of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai brought life to the agricultural town with vendors and transporters recording brisk business.
Held under the theme, “A new Zimbabwe, the time is now”, the manifesto launch enunciated MDC policies ahead of crunch polls set for July 31.
Tens of thousands of singing MDC supporters flooded the sleepy town to listen to their leader outline how his government will transform the economic fortunes of the country.
Bursting at the seams with a capacity crowd, Rudhaka Stadium proved to be a poor choice of venue for the manifesto launch as scores of people had to listen to Tsvangirai’s speech from outside the venue.
The crowd at the MDC manifesto launch completely dwarfed the crowd at Zanu PF’s manifesto launch at Zimbabwe Grounds in Harare last Friday.
Some youths hung precariously onto flood lights and trees in a desperate bid to get a clearer glimpse of Tsvangirai and his entire team.
While sungura star Suluman Chimbetu performed at the Zanu PF manifesto launch, his uncle Allan entertained the crowd donning a red MDC T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of Tsvangirai.
Innocent Gakaka also delivered a top-drawer performance with his smash hit Munogadzira tafura pamberi pavadzivisi vangu.
Youths and grannies did the MDC open palm salute as they waved placards extolling Tsvangirai.
Awed by the swelling multitude, techno-savvy MDC officials jostled with photo-journalists to capture the “historic moment.”
At exactly 2.15pm, a cheerful Tsvangirai, flanked by his immaculately dressed wife Elizabeth, disembarked from his maroon official Mercedes Benz to a standing ovation as the crowd surged forward to get closer to a man who may become the country’s third president since independence in 1980.
The rally, which was also an official launch of the MDC campaign programme, saw aspiring lawmakers from the party being introduced to the electorate.
Former radio personalities and TV stars Erick Knight and James Maridadi stole the limelight from other parliamentary hopefuls as a bowled crowd demanded to hear the ex-disc jockeys speak.
Knight, famed for his humorous talk on Radio Zimbabwe, then Radio Two, did not disappoint as he tossed the party’s slogan saying “rwendo runo hazvikoni nekuti ndezvashe”.
Baba Jukwa, a faceless Facebook character, who has taken the social media by storm and rattled Zanu PF officials by revealing Zanu PF and government secrets seemed also to have made inroads in the rural areas as the crowd cried out to see him.
MDC organisaing secretary Nelson Chamisa struggled to hush the vociferous crowd demanding to see Baba Jukwa.
“Toda Baba Jukwa toda Baba Jukwa” the crowd shouted, forcing Chamisa to say “endai painternet ndipo pavari, roverai Baba Jukwa maoko” attracting a rapturous response from the crowd.
Before the start of the rally, a group of MDC youths took to the streets singing party songs and in the process attracted a sharp rebuke from Marondera riot police.
The adamant crowd lashed out at the police squad through a song “hatidi kupiwa order nemasasikamu”.
While it was a jovial day for the MDC family, several road accidents occurred along the Harare-Marondera highway.