Tsvangirai Meets Supporters Over MDC Rift

The meeting was held at the new conference centre at the MDC headquarters in Harare.

There have been speculation that there are two MDC factions battling for supremacy in the party, one aligned to Tsvangirai and another sympathetic to the party’s Secretary General, Tendai Biti.

Sources that attended the Saturday meeting said Tsvangirai told the MDC supporters that the current confusion was a result of “Zanu (PF) machinations”, but the supporters also demanded explanations on the party’s unclear position on salaries.

“People were drawn from all 48 wards in Harare. The discussion centred mostly on the public disagreements, and the party’s apparent lack of a clear position on the issue of salaries,” said a source.

“President (of the MDC) Tsvangirai said the confusion was caused by Zanu (PF) and the central intelligence organisation, and pleaded with supporters top be wary of these.”

The reported divisions in the MDC have generated a lot of interest at a time the party is preparing for its elective congress to be held next year.

Political analyst John Makumbe also supported the claim on possible CIO interference during a recent interview with a UK based Zimbabwean radio station, SW Radio Africa.

“I suspect very strongly that a lot of that is coming from the Central Intelligence Organisation and then there are also elements within the MDC who are influenced by it and the rumour mongering really spreading all kinds of innuendos about the relationship between Biti and Morgan,” Makumbe told the station.

But some MDC insiders blame the confusion on power struggles within the party.

Although talk about the divisions have been going on for some time, the issue has been more publicised over the last two weeks when Biti and Tsvangirai publicly disagreed over public servants salaries.

Ugly scenes at the party’s headquarters, Harvest House in Harare also oiled the already burning rumours. The party’s Director General Toendepi Shonhe was beaten by youths who also impounded his car.

Tsvangirai later issued a statement blaming the disturbances on outsiders. The failure by the party to publicise details of a report on the violence has also heightened the speculation.