12 May 2014

Zimbabwe: 'Biti MPs' Dismiss Tsvangirai

Photo: IRIN
MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.

MPs belonging to a MDC faction led by secretary general, Tendai Biti yesterday said they would not re-join embattled party president Morgan Tsvangirai's camp.

They disputed claims that they had started negotiations to move "back home".

MDC-T appears headed for a split as relations between the two camps have irretrievably broken down.

Two weeks ago, MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti convened a national council meeting which resolved to suspend Morgan Tsvangirai and six other senior members for violating the party's constitution.

Tsvangirai hit back after calling for a national council meeting that resolved to expel Biti and members that had attended the Mandel Training Centre meeting.

Tsvangirai's faction wrote to the Speaker of the House Assembly Jacob Mudenda seeking to recall MPs Biti, Solomon Madzore (Dzivaresekwa), Paul Madzore (Glen View South), Moses Manyengavana (Highfield West), Willis Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, (Lobengula) and Pelandaba-Mpopoma legislator Bekithemba Nyathi.

Tsvangirai also wanted to recall Evelyn Masaiti (proportional representative), Watchy Sibanda (proportional representative) Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo) and Luveve MP Reggie Moyo.

In interviews yesterday, the MPs said they would remain in the Biti camp as they had not wronged anyone.

"I have never done anything wrong to anyone. As far as I am concerned we sat as national council and came up with resolutions," Luveve MP Moyo said.

Madzore said claims that he was asking for forgiveness was wishful thinking.

Nyathi said he was happy to be around people who practised democratic processes. "Going back where? There is no home where there is violence and no opportunity for discussions."

Nyathi said politicians saying the MPs wanted to return to the Tsvangirai-led MDC-T were the same culprits that were misleading people on the state of affairs in the party.

Political analysts have said Tsvangirai remained the face of the struggle against Zanu PF and he could not be wished away just that.

"He is the symbol of the struggle against the Mugabe regime. He is the main problem for Zanu PF and they want him to be put in the dustbin," political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said.

"He [Tsvangirai] appeals to the masses, ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) and his battle with Zanu PF has become a national matter."

Mandaza said proponents of leadership renewal should have found a better way of handling the conflict.

Political analyst Alois Masepe said Biti and Mangoma were some of the best brains in MDC-T as evidenced by the duo's secondment as part of the negotiators that brought the inclusive government.

Masepe said the duo's egos were bloated and puffed up when they were selected as negotiators.

"The lieutenants started believing that they could do better than the commander and could take over. The process [negotiating exercise] created a crisis of expectations and they thought they were bigger than the commander," Masepe said.

He said the exit of Biti and Mangoma would give room for Tsvangirai to selected trusted lieutenants. Masepe concurred with Mandaza that Tsvangirai was the face opposition.

"MDC-T is a mass protest movement which must have a leader with trusted lieutenants. The Zimbabwean situation has not reached the level which allows peaceful political contestations," he said.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director McDonald Lewanika said if the locus of success was within a narrow framework of MDCT politics and structures, Tsvangirai's chances of success would be very high, because naturally people are hesitant of change and maybe mobilised to stick with him for a long time.

"But if the locus of success is the national political terrain, then one has to admit that Tsvangirai's chances of success keep receding," he said.

Lewanika said Tsvangirai should not have dreams of being an opposition leader for life.

"People enter opposition to take over power, and his chances are limited by the fissures and the multiplication of enemies when he should be adding friends, the subtraction of supporters when he should be adding votes," he said.

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