Speaking at the party’s 10th anniversary celebrations before a crowd of about 20 000 supporters at Mucheke stadium Sunday, Tsvangirai said his party would see to it that those who lost property, were injured, displaced or whose relatives were murdered by president Robert Mugabe’s hit men would get compensation from the opposition party.
“We must have a response to victims of political violence. We should do something as a party, even if it means begging from donors, as some of the victims have nowhere to start after the ravages. We have to help our cadres,” Tsvangirai said amid applause.
He also dispelled claims that ZANU PF would now swallow the MDC as happened to the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s PF ZAPU party in the early eighties.
“Some people think we are being swallowed by ZANU PF. Nobody is going to swallow us. We are bigger than ZANU PF, we have the majority in parliament, so who will swallow the other one here, the bigger fish or smaller one? ZANU PF will always remain alone, and we will always remain MDC, even if we are in a unity government,” said Tsvangirai.
The MDC claims more than 100 of its supporters were killed in an orgy of violence after the initial March 29 harmonized elections in which ZANU PF tasted its first official defeat by the MDC, which failed to garner the 50 plus majority votes required by law, prompting a runoff election, which Tsvangirai later boycotted.
Masvingo, among the country’s politically volatile provinces, recorded some of the worst scenes of violence, with 20 supporters reportedly being killed during the period, according to provincial spokesperson, Wilstuff Sitemere.
Among the horrendous deaths was the murder of three supporters in Zaka who were petrol bombed while locked up in a District office at Jerera growth point. Four others who survived the attack – Edson Gwenhure, Isaac Mbanje and Kudakwashe Tsumele – suffered life-threatening injuries from the burns.
And only last week, another MDC Youth Chairman in Gutu, Costa Saliwa (29) who was abducted by ZANU PF militia and tortured for three days last year, died from injuries he sustained from the harrowing experience after being hospitalized for half a year.