Why are you so confident the same won’t happen in 2018, even if you win, because that has been Mugabe’s modus operandi? Tsvangirai: It was a strategic move that rescued the country. Even though we won the elections in 2008, for me it was not about going to State House, walking on top of dead bodies of Zimbabweans who were succumbing to hardships. You never get their help because critics say SADC is a supine body and some of the regional leaders have clearly bought into the narrative that you are a lackey of the West.Tsvangirai: There is a serious paradigm shift Circumstances have changed since 2008 when we won and we were not allowed to get power. There is surely nothing to suggest that that won’t happen again?

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Tsvangirai: We have been campaigning for the introduction of the BVR (biometric voter registration) system because it eliminates electoral shenanigans.

It will help reduce the number of manipulations that will be possible.

ZEC has not demonstrated its independence in the by-elections held so far.

We, in conjunction with other opposition parties, have been campaigning for electoral reforms.

I am now waiting for the final assessment as to the extent of the infection. I am happy that my final check will give me a clean bill of health as far as the cancer is concerned. Peta: The health of leading politicians is treated as a state secret in most African countries and your nemesis Robert Mugabe is routinely in and out of Singapore for medical checks but his ailment(s) have never been disclosed.

What prompted you to be different and publicly declare your cancer affliction, knowing very well that your opponents would use that against you to score political points, as they have been doing?

He will be 94 when we fight the upcoming elections. Peta: The situation in Zimbabwe cannot, surely, get any more worse than it is, and it represents fertile ground for any opposition to flourish and thrive, yet the opposition in Zimbabwe is timid and almost dormant, with no protest actions whatsoever.

In fact, it is Zanu-PF that seems active and visible on the ground. Tsvangirai: One of the realities of our situation is the repressive infrastructure that Mugabe has built over the past four decades.

That infrastructure has had an effect on the people.

Zimbabweans are reluctant to create something that results in instability as people know that they will be victims and will create a worse situation from the current ruins into which we are enmeshed.

Desktop criticism will always be there but ask the people who benefited from our presence in the GNU.