24 May 2013

Zimbabwe: Key Allies Dump MDC-T

KEY allies snubbed MDC-T's national policy conference last Friday, scuttling party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai's bid to form an electoral pact with them ahead of a watershed election set for this year.

The Herald is reliably informed that MDC-T sent written invitations to Professor Lovemore Madhuku's National Constitutional Assembly, Mr Munyaradzi Gwisai of the International Socialist Organisation and Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe but found no joy.

MDC99 leader Mr Job Sikhala also ruled out a union with Mr Tsvangirai whom he accused of joining the inclusive Government to amass wealth.

Invitations to Prof Madhuku and Mr Majongwe came barely a month after Mr Tsvangirai secretly met the pair and discussed possibilities of a coalition.

This followed predictions by international organisations that Zanu-PF would defeat MDC-T in the coming elections.

PTUZ, NCA and ISO yesterday confirmed snubbing the MDC-T conference.

Said Mr Gwisai said: "Yes, I was invited but I made my position not to attend.

"We are not happy with the direction the MDC-T is taking. This was going to be a window dressing occasion and so we decided not to be part of that. The MDC-T has betrayed the working class and the poor.

"We will not be part of that charade. We have no illusion that Tsvangirai and MDC-T would be saviours of the working class."

NCA spokesperson Mr Murdock Chivasa said they had taken a decision not to attend any MDC-T meetings, starting with the conference.

"There are a lot of things that we are not happy with the MDC-T apart from Constitution-making. In fact, our relations with the MDC-T have ended and we will never again sit down with these people discussing the future of this country," he said.

Mr Chivasa said the NCA was apolitical, but when asked why they traditionally attended previous MDC-T gatherings, he said: "We thought we were sharing the same vision. There is no other reason to associate with them now. That was a mistake."

The Herald is in possession of Majongwe's letter turning down the invitation dated May 17, 2013.

"It is in the public domain that when the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Concerned Affiliates invited you to their 2012 and 2013 May Day commemorations, you decided to ignore both invitations.

You chose to openly align yourself with one faction of the workers' body as manifested by the speeches made thereafter. One would have expected that you could have easily sent a low-profile official to represent you at the said events as a sign of recognition of our existence and relevance.

"This could have helped both our organisations in the long term. Further, it was also noted that your invitation was seriously flawed in that the same was not given to the president of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Concerned Affiliates, Mr Lovemore Matombo.

"As you may be aware, only an oral invitation was extended to him. As such, at its May 16, 2013 meeting, the labour centre resolved that it would not be in its best interest for its secretary-general to attend the conference as he would not be representing it.

"At best, it would be tantamount to usurping the authority of its President and at worst; it would appear an open betrayal of our principles."

Mr Majongwe suggested that "we meet as two mutually dependant institutions to hammer the way forward as was the spirit when I met the Prime Minister, His Right Honourable Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, at his residence on March 19, 2013."

National organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa claimed all organisations that were invited to the conference attended.

"All organisations that were invited pitched up. Over 50 civic organisations were represented and we are satisfied with the attendance. We are excited that our conference was a resounding success. The best ever," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Sikhala accused the MDC-T officials of joining the coalition government as opportunity seekers and accessed top-of-the-range cars and hefty travel allowances at the expense of citizens.

For that reason, said Mr Sikhala, the MDC-T would be punished by the people.

Mr Sikhala was responding to MDC-T Harare provincial spokesman Senator Obert Gutu's presentation at a public meeting held in Harare in which he castigated the inclusive Government.

"We agreed that there would be security sector realignment when the GNU was formed. The problem is we entered into a good agreement with a bad guy (Zanu-PF)," said Mr Gutu.

"You have failed to bring (President Robert) Mugabe to line and now you are speaking of it because we want to go for an election. Were you on a sleeping tablet that you are now waking up after four years and start demanding electoral reforms at this last minute? Tsvangirai and Mugabe have been having tea for the past four years every Monday," said Mr Sikhala.

He said the MDC-T should have pulled out of the GNU if the play ground was not level. Just admit that you have failed to defeat Mugabe and you are in fear of the forthcoming election," said Mr Sikhala.

Sikhala also took a dig at MDC president Professor Welshmen Ncube saying he signed a deal with Essar three and half years ago but the company has not opened door to operation.

"Welshman Ncube signed a deal with Essar three-and-half years ago but up to now nothing has happened. That is a clear sign of failure," said Sikhala.

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