Wednesday, June 24, 2009

PM Tsvangirai’ Shock Reception at London’s Southwark Cathedral

From Kubatana-

Nothing could have prepared me, or, indeed I believe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his entourage, for the shock reception and outright rejection of his message to Zimbabwean exiles living in the United Kingdom. Like the more than 1 000 Zimbabweans who turned up at the Anglican cathedral to listen to the Prime Minister, by 11am l was already at London Bridge, frantically asking for directions to the famous cathedral, not wanting to miss the opportunity to hear Morgan speak. I saw and greeted numerous familiar faces from home, and eagerly joined a group of women who spontaneously broke into song and transformed the meeting into a rally of sorts. Although invitations to the meetings had indicated that the meeting would start promptly at 12, when the clock struck 1 with evidence that Morgan had arrived, no-one complained.

When the Prime Minister arrived people packed in the cathedral jostled to catch a glimpse of Morgan and his team, and to snap away a photo or two on their mobile phones. The Prime Minister was scheduled to address the people and then have a question - and - answer session, all in time for meeting to end at 3pm. However, just ten minutes into his prepared speech, the Prime Minister was forced to abandone his speech and the pulpit due to jeering and booing from the crowd. The shock treatment of he received was triggered by his bold declaration that the unity government had brought “peace and stability” to Zimbabwe in the last four months. He went on to say, “let me state it here boldly that Zimbabweans must come home!”

His call on Zimbabwean exiles to come home was greeted by an uproar and spontaneous chants of “Mugabe Must Go!” To his credit, the Prime Minister attempted some damage control and said, “I did not say pack your bags and come home tomorrow, but I said you must begin to think about coming home.” But the damage had already been done. He further tried to portray the unity government as a success stating matter-of-factly that schools are open, hospitals have re-opened and, again, my favourite, inflation has come down from 500 billion percent to just 3 percent. In the brief question and answer session that, was also aborted, one woman asked the Prime Minister where ordinary people are getting the foreign currency to buy goods that are supposedly now in abundance in Zimbabwe. If the meeting had not degenerated into utter chaos forcing the PM and his team to leave prematurely, I would have wanted to pose this question to the PM: ” What is happening to MDC Director-General Toendepi Shonhe - who is languishing in remand prison?”

More here-

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