By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, November 22, 2016 – NEWLY-ELECTED Norton MP, Temba Mliswa on Tuesday dumped diplomacy, hitting out at MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai whom he accused of insincerity and vindictiveness.
Speaking at a press briefing in Harare, the first since his famous victory in a Norton by-election, Mliswa castigated the ex-prime minister for claiming credit for his victory but failing to acknowledge the massive vote he also garnered from Zanu PF structures.
During the by-election, the former Zanu PF politician outpolled the ruling party’s Ronald Chindedza with a massive 3 000 votes.
The country’s main opposition had stuck to its poll boycott stance but rallied support for the firebrand legislator.
The MDC-T says its support helped tip the scales in Mliswa’s favour, something the outspoken politician however acknowledged.
Mliswa however took time to claim his victory was in fact through a concerted effort by many sympathetic groups, among them Zanu PF supporters and war veterans.
He said much of his support has been found empirically to have emanated from rural wards, hitherto Zanu PF strongholds.
Mliswa made special mention of two particular wards which he said were known Zanu PF strongholds where he registered huge margins against his opponent.
“The support of MDC was important, but the critical one was the influence that I had in Zanu PF. If you calculate the figures, if you take the two wards, and remove them, I would have lost the election,” said Mliswa.
He continued, “Without a component of Zanu PF, there is not much you can do.”
Mliswa said he felt let down by Tsvangirai who failed to attend his Norton victory rally last Saturday despite agreeing to be slotted in as key speaker during the event.
He said the opposition leader failed to explain his absence, something he felt was rather insincere of the ex-premier.
“At no point have I thought of attacking anyone but when I attack they must be a reason,” Mliswa said of the “painful” Saturday incident.
“The MDC T president, I invited him to first mingle with everyone. I believe if he is to be leading, we should create ground for him and I am good at that.
“…He did not even bother sending any of his three Vice Presidents. An MDC-T councillor who was supposed to say a vote of thanks then refused to do so.
“We must be sincere if we are to move forward. We must not then decide Mliswa is becoming more popular, we should undermine him. You (Tsvangirai) have broken the contract, you have broken the contract of sincerity.”
The former Hurungwe MP, who was expelled from Zanu PF together with several party bigwigs and has vowed never to return to his former party, set tongues wagging last week when he was pictured with his nemesis, Saviour Kasukuwere, who is Zanu PF political commissar and cabinet minister.
Mliswa, who accuses Kasukuwere of being among the masterminds of their purge, insists his meeting with the Local Government Minister was purely business related and had everything to do with his constituency’s interests.
The fiery politician says he was being crucified for the meeting by social media commentators he felt were mere rubble rousers with little influence on the country’s political affairs.
Mliswa accuses Tsvangirai of having been influenced by that to a point of boycotting his rally.