2 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai, Mangoma Set to Meet Privately

Photo: Trevor Davies/IPS
MDC-T youths at a rally before the 2013 polls.

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was on Friday grilled by his national executive members over the manner he was handling his personal affairs.

Sources said the meeting, which was called to discuss proposals by deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma calling on Tsvangirai to consider quitting, was almost chaotic as different sides traded insults.

An executive member said Tsvangirai failed to answer the five questions put forward to him by Mangoma in his letter and requested that the two meet again privately at a later date.

"Tsvangirai was given an opportunity to respond to the five questions he was asked in the document written by Mangoma. He said he could not immediately provide the answers Mangoma needed and the two will have to meet again at another time," he said.

The five questions were presented at a recent meeting attended by Tsvangirai, party vice president Thokozani Khupe, secretary-general Tendai Biti and Mangoma.

Mangoma asked Tsvangirai how he would respond the accusations that MDC-T failed to care enough for its people and that the party used its time in government for personal wealth accumulation.

Mangoma also wanted to know how Tsvangirai would put closure to the issue of women in his life and ensure that these will not continue to erode his brand and that of the party.

"How will we put closure to the question of misuse of funds, and ensure that our friends regain confidence that donations will be channelled to the people's project going forward?" he said in his letter.

Another executive member said Tsvangirai was told in no uncertain terms during the stormy meeting that scandals involving his personal life were damaging the MDC-T "brand" and efforts to rebuild the party after its disastrous performance in last year's July 31st elections.

He said some executive members felt it was increasingly becoming difficult for them to defend Tsvangirai as they were no longer sure about his marital status and the women romantically linked to him.

"There was concern that indeed Tsvangirai's brand is also now being eroded because of the several women he was said to be involved in.

Lack of clarity on the status of the Highlands government house he is staying has also not helped matters," said the executive member.

He said members on Tsvangirai's side were very emotional and did not want the former prime minister's personal life to be discussed arguing it had nothing to do with the party.

Another executive member said the meeting was almost evenly divided between those supporting Mangoma and Tsvangirai.

"Gloves were off as executive members were exchanging harsh words to each other. It was really heated as members fought verbally with some calling Mangoma a traitor, while others defended his democratic right to express his opinion," said the executive member.

He said Tsvangirai was asked about the US$3 million which he was reportedly offered to entice him to quit the MDC-T leadership.

The MDC-T official said Tsvangirai denied ever being offered the money.

"It was discovered that it was a fabrication created by one of the senior officials in the party," said one official who attended the meeting.

Another official said Mangoma was taken to task for publicly debating the contents of his document while organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa was also allegedly reprimanded on suspicion that he was the one who leaked Mangoma's document.

Some officials were also taken to task for denigrating Mangoma's disability.

Contacted for comment last night, MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora denied that Tsvangirai and Mangoma would meet again soon insisting the matter was dealt with in the meeting.

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