HARARE – The rugged road from Sanyati to Gokwe snakes out westwards into the desolate countryside, the apparent poverty in the hinterland making it difficult to believe we are a nation that is now 33 long years into its independence.
The craggy landscape and the dangerous, bumpy road continued for many kilometres until we saw an exuberant crowd of Zimbabweans at Neuso Business Centre.
Morgan Tsvangirai, is a people’s man and never one to miss a chance to interact with the people.
Neuso was not part of his itinerary but the crowd had waited patiently for hours, knowing fully well that Tsvangirai, the man who had rescued them from the precipice of an economic catastrophe in 2009, would only use that route and would stop to talk to them.
They had unwavering faith that being the people’s president that he was, he would stop and talk to them. Protocol, so they rightly hoped, could never stand in the way of good leaders who want to offer service and sacrifice for the people.
True to his nature and character, Tsvangirai, who was in the same vehicle with organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, ordered the convoy to stop.
He came out of his vehicle to tumultuous applause and ululation and enunciated his party’s plan when it wins the next election on July 31.
The sight of large exuberant crowds signifying the national desire for change and positive transformation, was to continue throughout our two-day stay in Gokwe.
From Nembudziya to Gumunyu, to Chireya, to Chitekete and to Gokwe Centre the following day, the MDC president was swarmed and greeted by huge crowds that shouted loudly that a new Zimbabwe was imminent.
What the MDC president saw in Gokwe was overwhelming evidence that Zanu PF had overstayed its welcome.
Though the MDC had mitigated the excesses, it was clear that an MDC government with exclusive authority was the only people’s hope to complete the unfinished story of transformation.
At his five rallies in Gokwe, from Nembudziya to Gokwe Centre, the MDC president spoke about how he had proudly led a team that had shown its qualitative difference from the Zanu PF ministers who had caused misery and penury in the nation.
He said as an example that while Webster Shamu had failed to implement media reforms as agreed by the parties under the auspices of Sadc, Finance minister Tendai Biti had brought down inflation and had played a major part in the economic stability the country was experiencing.
He said the country, with Joseph Made in charge of the Agriculture portfolio had now resorted to importing maize from Zambia while the MDC’s Henry Madzorera as Health minister had brought collapsed health services back on track, as exemplified by his sterling role in making the hospital at Nembudziya fully functional after many years of neglect by Zanu PF.
The Prime Minister said while minister Samuel Nkomo largely improved water services in the country and contained cholera, Kasukuwere had grabbed companies in a scam where the so-called beneficiaries of the community share ownership schemes had never received any dividend.
The MDC president said while Mines minister Obert Mpofu had nothing to show for his national duty except his personal wealth and the unexplained fate of billions in diamond revenue, the likes of ICT minister Nelson Chamisa could point at the high cellphone and Internet usage in the country as part of their achievements.
In the end, the prime minister said the choice for the people of Zimbabwe was clear in the next election.
For despair and incompetence, Zimbabweans should vote Zanu PF.
If they preferred hope and progress, they should vote the MDC and Tsvangirai.
It was a choice between history and progress, between darkness and light between a bad yesterday and a better tomorrow.
The MDC record in the inclusive government was a clear story of success. Food returned on the supermarket shelves, children returned to school and we all bade goodbye to a worthless currency.
The people of Gokwe made it clear during the meetings that they would vote for hope and progress.
However, the rugged terrain and the poor infrastructure in Gokwe tell their own story.
Gokwe is a scene of the crime; the crime of many years of neglect and misgovernance.
Zanu PF’s indelible fingerprints at the scene of crime are self-evident.
On July 31, the people of Gokwe will make their verdict in the ballot box.
On Wednesday morning at Gokwe Centre as thousands of people waited for the arrival of the MDC president, a dispirited small group of Zanu PF supporters walked towards a service station and hesitatingly broke into song, the huge crowd waiting for Tsvangirai having seriously shaken their confidence.
Nyika ino ichatongwa naGushungo. Zvikaramba masoja achaona zvekuita. (This country will be governed by Robert Mugabe, if he loses the election, the soldiers will know what to do.)
It was a song by a party already conceding defeat. But the people’s victory is certain and that victory will be upheld!
*Tamborinyoka is the Principal Director of Communications and spokesperson to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.