New Zimbabwe (London)

24 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Holland a Liar, Mwonzora On "Fake" Press Brief

Photo: The Herald
Sekai Holland

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora has descibed as a liar, MDC-T politician Sekai Holland who Friday made sensational claims she was arm-twisted to make "fake" media pronouncements the party's Guardian Council (GC) had disowned Tendai Biti.

Holland, who chairs the MDC-T's caretaker group of elders, had presided over the party organ's meeting in which 24 out of 28 members met to agonise over a recent party split which has created two distinct party factions, although Holland claims they are five.

She later distanced the group from the controversial Mandel training centre "national council" meeting the now "expelled" secretary general had convened to decree suspensions on party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and half a dozen of his top lieutenants.

Soon after the GC meeting, Holland, a perceived Biti ally, made a dramatic somersault, claiming she was forced to ditch the firebrand politician after violent party youths sympathetic to Tsvangirai were spotted roaming the Harare avenues meeting venue.

Holland alleged in her private correspondence to confidantes, which was however seen by Newzimbabwe.com, that she was forced to deliver a fake statement to the press fearing for her life and those of the other GC members.

She further claims party organising secretary and Tsvangirai ally Nelson Chamisa had deployed his subordinate to sit through GC meeting, later demanding "to be given our files".

The staffer, Holland says, left "after I instructed him to get out".

"We then at 7pm in the middle of our deliberations received texted messages that the Harvest House youths were now surrounding the Hotel to beat me up as well as Mr Norman Mabhena," Holland said.

"He (Mabhena) led the debate in that we take the party back to the people and get the party united, to Congress and get free and fair elections done as agreed by both warring groups."

Holland further claims she was trailed as she left the hotel after the meeting by two white sedan cars "loaded with youths" and thanks the deft driving skills of her "CMED trained" driver who successfully eluded the pursuers.

She claims the statement she read to the press had been extensively edited by Tsvangirai who "put his comments on what he did not like in our statement".

"He then offered his staff from Harvest House to provide support to the GC to produce a press statement and including the removal of his dislikes," Holland said.

She says Tsvangirai's spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka and Mwonzora drafted the fake GC statement.

"I was shocked to find that the Harvest House youth were the press I was to address," Holland says.

"Luke and Douglas instructed me not to take questions. My husband Jim had to come to the Press conference to be with me and to take me home. I really lost my temper. I told them that their approach was creating a bad situation for the Party. We got into the Press conference at the Hotel. I refused to go to Harvest House for that."

Holland's claims elicited a strong rebuke from Mwonzora.

"Ah that's rubbish. She is lying through her teeth because she participated in the drafting of the statement, she dictated to us what to put in the statement, she read it before she delivered it and she delivered it in the presence of the press," Mwonzora said.

"I am so surprised that an elderly person like her can lie like that.

"I think she was working with a certain group who are unhappy that she had not protected their interest."

Mwonzora said Holland's statement was infact drafted at her house by one Trust Mamombe who works under her.

"Infact when l protested about Trust Mamombe taking certain documents, he told me that he had drafted the statement that the Guardian Council was made to sign," said Mwonzora.

"Infact when members of the Guardian Council were made to sign, they thought that it was a statement to dissociate themselves from Mandel."

Mwonzora says Holland twice called him before the media briefing at one time asking him to arrange a meeting with Tsvangirai first.

She would later invite him, Tamborinyoka and four GC council members to her room at Courtney hotel to help her polish the final document which she later read out to the press.

The MDC-T has all but split into two factions in what is sure to weaken an opposition party that has since formation 1999 kept the ruling Zanu PF on its toes.

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