* Job Sikhala welcomed “home”
Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan Tsvangirai says the return of Job “Wiwa” Sikhala to the main MDC formation shows the party has outwitted Zanu PF, which has been predicting a collapse of the democratic movement following rigged elections in 2013.
Below is the full text of the MDC leader’s speech, delivered at Harvest House Thursda
Speech by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai
Harare, Thursday, 13 March 2014
Today, I take this opportunity to announce with pride the return to the Party of two founding members of this great people’s movement, Mr Job Sikhala and Mr Joubert Mudzumwe.
These are colleagues with whom we have walked in the struggle but at some point had pursued other political options.
Today, I welcome them back to the party they helped form.
I have had intense discussions with these two colleagues and many others and we have agreed that we all need to be in one big tent as we fight for positive change in the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. By having these two colleagues rejoining us today, we are underlining the resilience of our struggle and the indestructibility of our mission.
Today, we obliterate the premature obituaries of this great movement. We showcase the dexterity with which we have outmanoeuvred our political opponents who have underestimated our capacity to organise a common front of one big family of fighters for democratic change.
We are not there yet but today’s reunion is a good start.
We take this opportunity to send a clear message that our democratic struggle is still on track.
We have agreed with these two gentlemen and many others that together, we are bigger, better and more formidable.
Through this homecoming by our colleagues in the struggle, we confound sceptics and put to shame the perception of MDC as a party in turmoil and a movement in disintegration.
This party is alive, in spite of the negative energy that seeks to dampen the people’s spirits and to dash their hopes and aspirations. Some have mistaken the robust debate in this party as a sign of disintegration but I want to assure you that we continue working towards achieving unity so that we become bigger and better as a credible alternative.
I have known these two colleagues since we started this great journey in 1999. Sikhala was a feisty former student leader, with other youngsters such as Tafadzwa Musekiwa, Learnmore Jongwe and Nelson Chamisa.
Mudzumwe was a seasoned trade unionist with many others when together we started this great journey whose destination we can clearly see in the horizon.
Both were members of the party’s national executive.
I have recently traversed this great country, seeking to engage the people after what happened on July 31. I was seeking to re-energise the party base and to reassure the people that their investment in the MDC is not misplaced.
Recent engagements with the people through our rallies and other public platforms have shown that the spirit of our collective struggle remains unstoppable to the extent that those who would like to divert our attention from this acute national crisis will be disappointed.
It is my sincere conviction that this homecoming by our colleagues today will further galvanize and re-energize our base. I can assure you that we are slowly and surely gathering in one tent because we know we are stronger in unity and weaker in division.
Today is an illustration that our struggle is not about personalities but a broad front united in the objective of achieving democratic change in our lifetime. This is a demonstration of our sincerity to unity and to the big tent approach in our struggle for democracy.
Together, we are better and we can be able to confront the bigger national crisis that is the real issue this nation must confront and address.
Without dialogue and national consensus, we cannot move forward in addressing the key issues of poverty, hunger, unemployment and the liquidity crunch that has affected all sectors of the economy. The nation needs a united front to refine the struggle and to demand true national leadership that can begin to address the multi-layered crisis facing this nation.
Anyway, today is not a day of speeches.
Together with these gentlemen we started this journey for a new Zimbabwe. We know that many lost life and limb in the post-liberation struggle for democracy and our gathering together is our humble way of ensuring that those who died on this journey did not die in vain.
Together we must build and enhance a strong movement so that when some of us leave the cockpit of this party, as we will definitely do in the foreseeable future, we must leave a united party in the hands of a new generation able to steer our struggle forward and to fulfil the people’s aspirations.
Welcome home, gentlemen!
I thank you.