THE MDC led by Welshman Ncube on Sunday confounded critics by packing thousands of people into Stanley Square in Makokoba, Bulawayo, quashing suggestions that it was too small to make an impact in tomorrow’s elections.
Report by Khulani Nkabinde/Silas Nkala.
The party turned Bulawayo green, as it held its star rally, a day after President Robert Mugabe held his own.
The party’s supporters started getting into Stanley Square as early as 11am, with a long winding queue outside, as they jostled to find a place to sit inside.
The party’s green T-shirts were also distributed to supporters and in no time, the whole venue had turned green.
Some wore green armbands as well as bandanas.
They sang and danced at the terraces — never running out of steam.
There was heavy whistling and ululation when senator David Coltart arrived accompanied by family members.
The throng went into delirium when party leader Ncube arrived, breaking into song and dance.
Addressing the rally, Ncube said Zimbabwe faces a leadership crisis. Ncube said Zimbabwe has all the natural resources making it rich but lacked intelligent, trustworthy and focused leadership to make people benefit from those resources.
“Zimbabwe is rich, but its people are poor why?” he asked.
“Ask yourself that if Zimbabwe has 20% of the world’s diamonds, if it is the second platinum producer in Africa, if it has vast mineral resources and if it has the most educated people in Africa, why then people are dying of hunger when our country is rich?”
Ncube, who has modelled his campaign along principled and accountable leadership, said the country lacked sound stewardship.
“We are short of one thing here, what we do not have is sound leadership,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is a failed State because of the failure in leadership,” he said.
“Today I am giving you the diagnosis of the problem of Zimbabwe. I am saying Zimbabwe is in the intensive care unit because of lack of intelligent, clever and trustworthy leadership.”
Turning to his former ally, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Ncube said it was not reasonable for the electorate to just remove President Robert Mugabe and replace him with a leader who lacks intelligence and focus because it is believed he is popular.
“The whites, relatives of our minister David Coltart, say in their language ‘the most lethal weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed’,” he said.
“If you meet somebody and they say you are few, you cannot remove Mugabe this means that person’s mind is controlled by his or her oppressor.”
Ncube also lashed out at Mugabe saying he is a man ashamed of the current state of his face.
“In the election race there is Chatunga’s father, among others, who came to you after 33 years of destroying the country to ask for another chance,” he said drawing applause from the crowd.
“You will elect him to do what as old as he is?
“The man is even ashamed of his face. Why did he not use his current picture? Why did he use his 1975 picture to seek for re-election? He knew that no one would vote for an old face and people would say let this great grandfather go to Zvimba and rest’.”
Ncube promised to turn around the country’s fortunes if elected into office.
“If you elect us, I tell you before Christmas we will have brought back money to the people, finished hunger and firms will be reopened,” he said.
“We have a real team that can deliver. If I challenge Mugabe to bring his team, he will bring me the likes of Didymas Mutasa — honestly is that a team which can do something as old as it is?”