MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday failed to address a scheduled Africa Day rally at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield Harare after falling ill.
Tsvangirai, who has been holding a series of rallies across the country since a rebellion against his leadership surfaced, took to social network site Facebook to explain his absence at the rally.
“I failed to attend the MDC Africa Day celebrations at Zimbabwe Grounds today (yesterday) but I hear it was a blast. Because of illness, the doctor ordered me to take a rest,” he said.
“Those who attended tell me there was a huge crowd there and it is unfortunate that I failed to address the people.
“I can’t wait to see the pictures from the rally and share them with you.
“I might be home recuperating but my thoughts are with the people of Zimbabwe who continue to brave the long and torturous journey to true freedom and democracy.”
MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa had broken the news of Tsvangirai’s illness at the rally attended by an estimated
10 000 people.
“The message I want to give you needs people with a strong heart. Today, when we had planned our rally, you came in your numbers,” he said.
“This is a good crowd that shows people are determined. We got a message that the doctors said our president has overworked and should rest.”
MDC-T prodigal son Job Sikhala stepped in and sent the crowd into frenzy when he said President Robert Mugabe’s days at State House were coming to an end.
“For 35 years we are still under the yoke of a dictator, it’s time we demand our freedom,” he said.
“There were worse dictators like Mubarak and Gaddafi but the people said enough is enough.
“It’s one day when people will say enough is enough and the time will come.”
Other party members could be seen walking out when acting secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada started making his speech on behalf of Tsvangirai.
Last week, Tsvangirai also failed to turn up for another MDC-T party rally in Glen View for yet unknown reasons.
His spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka dismissed rumours that Tsvangirai was suffering from malaria.
“All I can tell you is that we got a message from the president’s doctor that he couldn’t come.
“It’s important for his health,” said Tamborinyoka without saying what the party leader was suffering from.
At yesterday’s rally, MDC-T ’s national guardian council took time to clarify the confusion over the Thursday meeting.
The council’s chairperson Sekai Holland last week made a statement before making a U-turn claiming she was intimidated by suspected Tsvangirai loyalists to attack Tendai Biti’s group.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora made a sensational claim that Holland had “doctored” a party statement she had been made to deliver and hired State security agents to protect her from the MDC-T youths.
“She said she was followed by unmarked vehicles and they were Tsvangirai vehicles,” he said.
“She said she was afraid to be attacked by the MDC and asked State security to be there, she asked for CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) to come, she was followed by the CIO.”