DC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday told Zimbabweans at a rally in Birmingham that the solution in Zimbabwe was unconditional dialogue and rejected outright the Zanu PF precondition that the MDC must first concede defeat in the elections of 2013.
"If they think I will concede defeat, they are deluding themselves because everyone knows last year's election was stolen. I will not do it. Everyone knows that election was stolen," Tsvangirai told a rapturous crowd.
He said Zimbabweans were facing a serious crisis and the way forward was unconditional dialogue by not just political parties but a broad section of stakeholders that includes students, trade unions, industry and the church, among other players.
He said with good leadership, Zimbabwe had the potential to reclaim its rightful place on the continent and in the world. Tsvangirai dismissed the speculation that the MDC was desperate to get back into government, saying the call for dialogue was a simple demand for a national conversation that had become very urgent in the wake of the crisis in the country.
He said with Zimbabweans facing such a huge crisis, others remained misguided by regarding him, and not Zanu PF, as being at the centre of the national crisis. He said there was a group of former colleagues in the MDC, that went on a retreat in January plotting, not how to deal with Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe who are the centre of the national crisis, but conspiring how to unconstitionally remove Morgan Tsvangirai from office.
"Ambition is not criminal but there are rules. It is only congress that removes and installs leaders in the MDC," Tsvangirai said to applause. "And I also want to assure you that I will not die in office like Robert Mugabe. I will leave office one day and leave others to carry the mantle forward," he said.
Tsvangirai is in the United Kingdom at the invitation of the Royal Institution of International Affairs who wanted him to speak on the situation in Zimbabwe at Chatham House. After his presentation at Chatham House on Friday, the entered day three of his trip with the busy schedule that included an address to Zimbabweans in Birmingham yesterday.
The MDC leader also held an hour-long meeting with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham where they discussed the various areas of co-operation, including the possibility of twinning arrangements between the city of Birmingham and some of the cities in Zimbabwe, most of which are run by MDC-led councils.
The rally was preceded by a meeting between the MDC leader and party structures in the UK and Ireland before a rally was held in the afternoon. Later, the President, who is accompanied on the UK trip by his wife and officials from his office, was last night part of a fundraising dinner in Birmingham. The dinner was meant to raise funds for the party back home.
Tsvangirai returns home this week.