MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has made a dramatic U-turn on his recent attack on President Mugabe and service chiefs saying Zimbabweans should remain united and stop attacking each other in the media.

Addressing a rally at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru recently, Mr Tsvangirai accused President Mugabe and Zanu-PF of peddling lies and misinforming Zimbabweans about the recent Sadc summit on Zimbabwe in South Africa.

He also challenged the country’s security chiefs to leave the military and join the political ring, a remark, which attracted strong rebuke from across the board.

The backlash that followed has apparently forced Mr Tsvangirai to tone down his utterances. He told mourners at the burial of one of the party officials, Dr Mufandaedza Hove, in Mberengwa on Saturday that

Zimbabweans should stop criticising each other and instead work to promote unity, peace and development in the country.

“We have heard people lurching at each other in the Press and I don’t think this will help us build the Zimbabwe we want. There is no need for us to fight.

“Yes we can compete and try to win support on the political front but what we want at the end of the day is to make Zimbabwe move forward,” said Mr Tsvangirai. He said political parties continued to devote much of their time to blaming each other at the expense of development.

“We have said this and that to each other in the papers but we are saying as MDC, lets now focus on unity and development,” he said.

Mr Tsvangirai said MDC-T subcribes to peace.

“There is no reason for us to fight each other on political grounds, if you are Zanu-PF, remain Zanu PF and if you are MDC, you should ascribe to the party’s auspices which are peace and integrity. Why should one slap his or her kinsman for supporting a certain party? There is surely no reason for that,” he said.

Mr Tsvangirai touched off a storm of protests when he accused security chiefs of dabbling in politics.

Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba hit back, making it clear that the armed forces are justified in making some statements that can be viewed as political because Mr Tsvangirai was a national security threat, not a political one.

Dr Hove died on admission at Claybank Hospital in Gweru last week after he fell sick while attending the MDC-T rally at Mkoba Stadium. Mr Tsvangirai said the death of Dr Hove was a loss to his party, “We have lost a man of integrity, an adviser and a brother whom we will all miss.” MDC-T national organising secretary, Mr Nelson Chamisa, claimed Zanu-PF had refused to agree to his party’s demands concerning the criteria used for the conferment of National Hero Status, suggesting that if there was agreement Dr Hove would have been buried at the national heroes acre.

“As MDC, we are not happy with the way the selection of people who should be buried at the National Heroes Acre is being done by Zanu-PF, if it was being done in accordance with what we are advocating for, surely the late Dr Hove would be one of our members to be buried at the Heroes Acre.

“We were together since the formation of the party and have been fighting together in the struggle which has seen us being the popular party today,” he said.

President Mugabe has made it clear that the National Heroes Acre is for those with liberation war credentials and those who worked for the fulfillment of the ideals of the revolutionary struggle after independence.

He told the MDC formations and those with heroes of their own to look for their own hills and build their own heroes acres where they can bury those they perceive to be heroes. The late Dr Hove, a long time lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, is survived by wife, Eunice, and three children.

Also present at his burial was Mr Tsvangirai’s deputy Ms Thokozani Khupe, Midlands State University Vice Chancellor Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe and some University of Zimbabwe officials.