Tsvangirai Mollifies CSO's, Rules Out Party Split

Harare, March 25, 2014 – Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan

Tsvangirai on Tuesday re-assured his erstwhile allies in the civil

society that the internal strife in his MDC-T party is over and the

party is working on finding a solution to the country’s political and

economic crisis.

Tsvangirai has been wrangling with some of his top lieutenants chief

among them, national treasure-general Elton Mangoma, who was recently

suspended from the MDC-T party after he wrote a letter to the former

Prime Minister questioning his leadership capabilities and suggesting

that the former trade union leader should step down as party leader.

A section of some inconsequential civil society groups have in recent

weeks been critical of Tsvangirai for the “undemocratic way” he

handled the leadership battle between himself and some rebels in the

opposition party led by Mangoma.

But on Tuesday, the former Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and

National Constitutional Assembly leader met with some influential civil

society organisations whom he briefed on the measures that the

leadership of his party had taken to mend the rift which had

threatened to split the opposition party which in 2008 handed

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party its first electoral

defeat since independence in 1980.

Informed sources who attended the meeting told Radio VOP that

Tsvangirai who addressed the CSO representatives in the company of his

party’s secretary-general, Tendai Biti, deputy President Thokozani

Khupe, party national organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, acting

treasurer-general Tapiwa Mashakada and party spokesperson Douglas

Mwonzora and several of his standing committee and the party’s

national executive members described the bickering as a “sad chapter

in the struggle for democracy” and assured the CSO’s leaders that the

rifts in the party had been mended.

The former trade union leader praised CSO’s for their contribution in

the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe and told them that the MDC-T does

not regard them as “stakeholders but as shareholders of the struggle.”

Tsvangirai disclosed that he had held a “heart to heart” discussion

with his party’s standing committee last Friday over the problems

bedeviling the once formidable opposition party which had helped

cement and refocus the struggle.

The MDC-T leader ruled out that the opposition party which in 2009

formed a coalition government with Mugabe which is largely credited

with arresting some of the country’s economic challenges, would split

but would remain united to confront a national crisis that Zimbabwe is

facing.

A split of the party, Tsvangirai said, would be a betrayal of the

people of Zimbabwe who have supported the opposition since its

formation in 1999.

In turn CSO leaders led by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

chairperson Dewa Mavinga told Tsvangirai that though they cannot be

seen to be involving themselves in the MDC-T internal politics, they

were “happy” that the opposition party was resolving its issues.

The insiders said Tsvangirai had assured the CSOs that his party

cannot “sustain a violent agenda” as it was a “victim of violence”

from Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.