29 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Expels Biti, Calls October Congress

Photo: Nehanda Radio
MDC-T supporters gather outside Harvest house in support of Morgan Tsvangirai.

THE Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC has summarily expelled firebrand party secretary general Tendai Biti and nine MPs who were part of Saturday's Mandel training centre meeting which pronounced suspensions on the former premier and his top lieutenants.

Addressing the media soon after the party's national council meeting at Harvest House Tuesday, Tsvangirai said his party will now hold its elective congress October 2014 to elect substantive leaders to take the party to the 2018 elections.

Party national chairman Lovemore Moyo said the expulsion of the group was decided in a national council vote with 162 out of 167 delegates voting for the dismissal of the lot. Five abstained from voting.

The MDC-T further said the nine party MPs who have openly sided with the Biti group will be recalled from the house.

Tsvangirai said he had always been suspicious of Biti whom he said was a "hypocrite" who was always "hiding behind" the more vocal and long expelled party deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma. He said the Biti group staged an "attempted coup" on his leadership.

Tsvangirai, who did not show any emotion during the press briefing, said the MDC-T "rebels" have all but formed their own party and should not "pretend" to be MDC anymore.

Over 500 placard waving party supporters converged at the party's Harvest House headquarters to show support for Tsvangirai while denouncing the Biti group for alleged betrayal.

As was witnessed Sunday, the gathering all but turned the situation into a virtual rally.

Dozens of baton wielding anti-riot police closely monitored the situation and did not make any attempt to disperse the gathering even when the ecstatic Tsvangirai supporters partially blocked the late afternoon traffic flow in the city centre.

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