SW Radio Africa (London)

12 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Vows MDC-T Will Not Split

Photo: MDC-T
MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai addressing a rally ahead of 2013 polls.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai seems to have overcome a bid to oust him by his lieutenants and has vowed the party he helped form will not split again.

Following a turbulent month that saw his deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma author a letter asking him to step down, culminating in his suspension on Friday last week, there were indications the fissures in the party would result in yet another split.

But bolstered by the support he has received from all the 12 party provinces, Tsvangirai has assured supporters that despite the current disagreements the party remains intact.

On Tuesday he met his secretary-general Tendai Biti for the first time since Friday, following a major fall out triggered by the party's decision to suspend Mangoma, a decision that irked the former Finance Minister.

Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that Biti and Tsvangirai met at the standing committee meeting and engaged in a constructive discussion on how to move the party forward.

'There was no animosity between the two; there is no appetite for grudges in the party. What was said and done is now history and the focus now on restructuring the party,' said Mwonzora.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed the party will have a press conference on Thursday where it is expected to unveil some members who have rejoined the party, having left in 2005.

One of them is Job Sikhala, the MDC99 President who was the MDC MP for St Mary's before the split. Another figure is Esaph Mdlongwa who was the organising secretary for the MDC and Joubert Mudzumwe, the MDC-N chairman for Masvingo province.

Other names being mentioned include Mavambo/Kusile leader Dr Simba Makoni and Paul Themba Nyati, the former MDC spokesman.

United States based political analyst Dr Maxwell Shumba told our Hidden Story program on Wednesday that the survival of the MDC-T depended on Tsvangirai's skills to unite the party following the factional crisis.

'The shake-up from this crisis should be used as a wakeup call by the leaders in the party to sit down and look at the bigger picture. The party is about the party and not individuals.

The MDC was formed to be an alternative to ZANU PF but that is currently not happening. The infighting is disheartening to many people who put all their energy plus resources to ensure there was going to be a new government after the 2013 elections,' said Shumba.

The analyst said instead of going back to the drawing board and looking at the failures from 2013 and charting the way forward, the party was now in a destructive mode that needed to be stopped, before it was too late.

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