UNDER-PRESSURE MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is today expected to address thousands of his party supporters at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare, at a rally dubbed the Shutdown.
Tsvangirai’s appearance will come after a lengthy absence from the public glare owing to ill health.
MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora said the rally would be the last one to be addressed by Tsvangirai in 2016.
“We are going to have the rally, which we have called the Shutdown. It will be the last rally that will be addressed by our president in 2016,” he said.
The rally will come just four days before the MDC-T takes on President Robert Mugabe’s government in what they have called the finale of demonstrations.
Mwonzora said the party had planned a major demonstration against Mugabe’s rule over corruption and general suffering of the people, for November 30.
“We are going to have this demonstration as Nera (National Electoral Reforms Agenda). Initially, it was a day we had set aside for an MDC demonstration and Nera had planned its demonstration for November 23,” he said.
“But it was outlawed by the police. So it has been moved to that date, where, as one people, we will challenge poor governance, corruption and brutality.”
The rally, which is expected to be attended by political leaders from other parties, will be Tsvangirai’s first in nearly three months.
The opposition leader has had to limit his public appearances, as he has been routinely travelling to South Africa for cancer treatment.
Following a public fallout with Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa, Tsvangirai is reportedly under pressure to increase his public appearances, which have been reduced to a bare minimum and has been pushed to address the rally.
Sources in the party said Tsvangirai would seek to address critics over his move to support Mliswa in the Norton by-election.
However, Mwonzora said the MDC-T was too big to be pushed into action by the outspoken independent legislator.
“Mliswa alone cannot push a monolithic party like MDC into action. We planned this rally some time ago and it has nothing to do with him,” he said.
Mwonzora said Tsvangirai would also map a way forward for the MDC-T, as they energise for the 2018 election preparations, which would mark 2017.
“The president will interface with our members and review what has happened during the year as well as propound a way forward for the party,” he said.