The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Pays Homage to Zanu-PF's Tutelage

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has said his party would have caused chaos if it had gone into Government without guidance from Zanu-PF, which it is getting in the inclusive Government. He said this while addressing his party's provincial committee in Gweru last Friday.

"It would have been chaos and fighting each other if we had gone straight into power, but God had a plan," he said.

"Now, with this wholesome knowledge there is nothing that can stop us from ruling.

"God has a purpose for everything. He did not allow us to go straight into power, but allowed us to go through an apprenticeship course where we have been taught how to rule and know where the keys to govern the country are found."

Mr Tsvangirai said MDC-T would have messed up things had it gone straight into power without the stewardship of Zanu-PF.

He said he would resign as MDC-T president if he loses next year's presidential elections expected in March.

Mr Tsvangirai said Zanu-PF was a strong party with a huge following, but urged his supporters to soldier on and work on election-winning strategies.

Zanu-PF, he said, could only be defeated if his party shunned divisions.

"We have two issues that have prohibited us from taking over, that of the fear of defeat and the fear of ruling. We should, however, have to take courage from the Biblical story of David and Goliath," said Mr Tsvangirai.

"Fearsome as he was, David managed to defeat the giant Goliath and this is the spirit which we should have."

Mr Tsvangirai launched a scathing attack on Gweru Mayor Councillor Tedious Chimombe, who defected to the newly-formed United Movement for Democracy alongside six other councillors.

But Clr Chimombe said the attack showed that the MDC-T leader was running scared.

He said Mr Tsvangirai failed to deliver and should have stepped down long back.

Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai and his provincial leadership in Matabeleland North have publicly admitted that factionalism is tearing their party apart.

This, they said, had culminated in the party's waning support in the province.

Mr Tsvangirai and his lieutenants said the feuding was coupled with internal political competition and lack of resources in the province at a time other parties were making major inroads in Matabeleland.

Addressing a poorly-attended provi-ncial councils meeting at the disused Mpofu Primary School in Lupane on Sunday, Mr Tsvangirai said he would wield the axe on senior party officials accused of fanning factionalism.

About 65 district chairpersons out of 195 officials from the province attended the meeting.

Mr Tsvangirai and his leadership connived to gag the party district chairpersons who wanted to give a clear picture of how factionalism was tearing the party apart, including names of senior officials implicated.

He said he was going to convene a crisis meeting with the party's organising department this week and deploy a team to Matabeleland North to deal with factionalism.

"I have heard a lot is happening here. That provincial chairperson (Mr Zenzo Tshabangu) and provincial organiser (Mr Thembinkosi Sibindi) are not in good books," said Mr Tsvangirai.

"I am demanding that divisions must stop. From now on I don't want to hear there is division here between the chair and the organiser.

"You, the people here, are also responsible for causing this factionalism because you say you belong to Tshabangu while others say they belong to Sibindi when in actual fact you belong to the party."Mr Tsvangirai was made to wait in the bush for some minutes while people were being bussed to the venue from different parts of Lupane.

He bemoaned the poor attendance at the meeting, saying he almost went back as it confirmed that there were problems in the province.

MDC-T deputy chairperson Mr Morgan Komichi, who is the former Matabeleland North provincial chairperson, also castigated factionalism in the province.

"We know as leadership that there is conflict in this province. I know the people who cause this conflict," he said.

"I know you by name, I could mention you. I know the constituencies with these problems. We are not happy when you are fighting over personal interests. That's not the vision of the party.

"I want you to respect vice president (Thokozani) Khupe. We don't want factions that undermine leadership here."

Mr Komichi said the MDC-T authorised provincial and district leadership to suspend or fire people who do not respect the party's constitution.

He said if the provincial and district leadership failed to discipline 'rogue' elements, the party national leadership would intervene.

MDC-T Matabeleland North provincial chairperson Mr Sengezo Tshabangu admitted that other parties among them Zanu-PF, Zapu and Mthwakazi Liberation Front were making inroads in many areas because they were visible in the province.

"The political landscape has changed compared to when (Morgan) Komichi was the provincial chairperson. The forces we currently face were not there since we formed the MDC in 1999. Zapu wasn't there, MLF wasn't there.... Those are the challenges we are facing," said Mr Tshabangu.

"The other challenge we have is invisibility of our national leadership. For instance, we have you today (party) president but we will then read about you in the papers.

"At my level as provincial chairperson, I am supposed to be competing with my counterparts from other parties. But I am now competing with presidential material. I am competing with Welshman Ncube, I am competing with Dumiso Dabengwa. You are exposing me (party) president."

MDC-T deputy organising secretary Mr Abednico Bhebhe gagged party officials who wanted to raise their concerns about factionalism and who was behind it.

"We have agreed with the (party) president that we will not let you speak about the problems that you may be encountering," he said.

There has been rampant factionalism and defection from the MDC-T in Matabeleland North province where Zanu-PF has made headway in luring supporters.

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