Tsvangirai, Biti Battle For Violence Victims

Harare, June 30, 2014-A new turf war has erupted between the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T and “fired” secretary-general Tendai Biti’s Renewal Team, with both sides fighting to outwit each other in supporting victims of political violence.

Biti was “fired” from the MDC-T early this year after he publicly supported the call for leadership renewal which was set in motion by former deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma in February this year.

Biti and his team have hinted on forming a new party.

Addressing his Renewal Team leaders in Harare on Saturday, Biti said they had mobilised financial aid for all victims of political violence since the party’s formation in 1999.

“We should have a programme for transitional justice in Zimbabwe in which all victims of political violence are compensated. That will allow healing,” Biti said.

But MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora yesterday accused Biti’s camp of “stealing” the idea from Tsvangirai.

“The announcement by Tendai Biti’s nameless party that it has funds to start compensating MDC-T victims of political violence is the most telling of the renewal group’s lack of moral fibre,” Mwonzora said.

“The MDC-T was accused of not caring for its members who were victimised by Zanu PF while these gentlemen [Biti and Mangoma] were busy spending party money on scholarships for their girlfriends, and exorbitant salaries for party workers whose loyalty they were buying.”

Mwonzora said Biti’s outfit which he described as “a motley collection of elitist snobs with no following around the country and interested mainly in hoodwinking impressionable donors would fail in its plot to win support by dangling money to victims of political violence”.

However, Renewal Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume labelled the MDC-T as “suffering from acute cognitive dissonance”.

“Mwonzora is becoming paranoid and disillusioned in the sense that it is an open secret that the money that could have been used to compensate victims was used to pay one woman after the other by Tsvangirai,” Mafume said.

“What the Renewal Team is saying is it will prioritise compensation of victims before we get wives and houses.

Tsvangirai should not look further than himself.

“The money used to pay off  Locardia Karimatsenga [Tsvangirai’s ex-girlfriend] could build 10 000 rural homes and the

 $1,5 million used to renovate his [Highlands] house could have built over 50 000 rural homes.”

Over 300 MDC-T supporters were killed in 2008 and thousands displaced while several homes belonging to opposition activists were razed down by suspected Zanu PF supporters in the past elections.

Meanwhile, the Biti faction yesterday said it had formally “expelled” Tsvangirai and MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo from the party following a default judgment made against them by the disciplinary committee last Friday.

Biti and his team in April “suspended” Tsvangirai and six other officials close to him and charged them for breaching the party constitution.

Tsvangirai last Thursday obtained a High Court interdict to block the disciplinary hearings.

Part of the committee’s verdict prepared by Renewal Team lawyer Gift Nyandoro read: “It is our respectful finding that the misdemeanors committed are so gross and that the only punishment that meets the same is that of expulsion.”