MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is a dictator who has lost the moral high ground to complain about being cheated by Zanu PF, says former ally Lovemore Madhuku.
Madhuku, leader of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) pressure group, was the figurehead of the ill-fated campaign to get a draft constitution rejected during a referendum last week.
In the end, the draft – supported by the three parties in the ruling coalition including Tsvangirai’s MDC-T – was adopted by a 95 percent public affirmation.
Figures released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission showed 3,079,966 voted “Yes” while 179,489 backed the “No” vote. A total of 56 627 votes were spoilt.
Madhuku said the outcome was a “fraud” as he accused the ZEC of inflating the numbers. “To claim that there was close to a million more voters in the referendum than in the March 2008 general elections is to take the public for fools,” he insisted.
But Madhuku reserved most of his invective for Tsvangirai, with whom he has shared platforms in the past to campaign for constitutional reforms.
Tsvangirai had helped create conditions, Madhuku said, which made the playing field uneven. The NCA had drip funding and had been denied access to the media – conditions which Madhuku said favoured the ‘Yes’ vote.
The notice period of less than a month between the completion of the draft and the referendum was too short, Madhuku complained, and copies of the draft were unavailable to more than 80 percent of eligible voters. Police had also proscribed rallies for the ‘No’ vote campaign while the NCA and its allies in the trade union movement and smaller opposition parties were victims of “hate speech” by Tsvangirai, who described them as “nhinhi” in Sunningdale and as having “mamhepo” (evil spirits) at a Bulawayo rally.
“It’s a very sickening sense that we get,” Madhuku told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re very disappointed by what has happened [to the MDC-T]. But we realise that Morgan Tsvangirai himself as a person is the one who is responsible for providing leadership to that movement. He has not provided leadership.
“He has allowed the movement to completely copy what Zanu PF believes in. The basic belief of Zanu PF is people don’t matter – what matters is what the leadership thinks. That’s what they have decided to do.
“So we’re very disappointed but that’s their choice to have taken that route. We’ll work hard for the people not to follow the MDC-T.”
Madhuku says the party is now afflicted by a personality cult – just like Zanu PF – where Tsvangirai was treated as beyond reproach.
“The MDC-T is the only party that has a bad name. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have laws regulating political parties, but you can’t have a party named after a person and use his face as the party’s symbol,” Madhuku said.
The “T” in the MDC-T refers to Tsvangirai, to differentiate the party from the break-away MDC led by Welshman Ncube, while the party intends to use the open palm emblazoned with Tsvangirai’s face as its symbol in forthcoming elections.
He said Tsvangirai would rue his decision to consent to a political competition where the NCA was not given access to the media and state resources.
“The MDC-T has lost the moral ground to complain about the same issues they presided over during the referendum. The MDC-T consented to that. That means those are the same conditions which will apply to them in an election. We don’t expect them, for all morality, to start complaining,” he said.
“I’m sure those are the rules they want to operate in an election. We’ll hope they just go through an election now under the same conditions that they gave to us. And thereafter, we will have to be definitive.
“We don’t mind whoever wins the election. We now know that we’ve a dictatorship in place. And the choice between the MDC-T and Zanu PF is a choice between two dictators.
“Because we have two dictators, we shouldn’t be really saying this dictator is more useful than the other. These are just two dictators. Let the two dictators fight within a dictatorial environment and let’s get one we will then confront.”
Madhuku, socialist and former MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, Progressive Teachers’ Union secretary general Raymond Majongwe and MDC-99 President Job Sikhala are believed to be on the verge of forming an opposition party – but only after the elections.