MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti has ruled out the possibility of mounting a challenge against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for the leadership of the party.
Biti, who is also Finance Minister, also denied repeated media speculation that his relationship with Tsvangirai was strained.
“Our relationship is not just normal but very good. He (Tsvangirai) knows where I am and what I am doing at all times,” Biti says in an interview published on Sunday.
“We have only one leader in MDC-T and that is Morgan Richard Tsvangirai. Let me state it for the record that I will never challenge Morgan Tsvangirai as leader of MDC,” Biti told the Sunday Mail.
On the same day, the privately-owned Standard newspaper claimed “fissures” between the two men had "widened" after Biti announced that civil servants’ salaries were frozen because the government was broke.
Tsvangirai countered by insisting that Biti’s stance was not government policy.
The Standard claimed Biti was “on the ascendancy as he had been able to neutralise a clique of Tsvangirai’s advisers known as the ‘Kitchen Cabinet’.”
Meanwhile, Biti also reportedly told the Mail that he admired President Robert Mugabe, describing him as “Zimbabwe itself”. Mugabe’s importance would be realised long after he is gone, he said.
“History will prove the correctness of this statement. He has been the number one symbol of stability… We, the younger generation, are lucky to have gone through his hands. We find counsel and wisdom in him,” Biti is quoted as saying.
“His importance in this country will be seen once he is gone. When he is gone, that is when you will see that this man was Zimbabwe. Some of us who came from different parties have had to learn a lot from the man.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Biti also said the government had set aside US$100 million for national elections. The funds, he said, were part of the US$500 million Special Drawing Rights allocation which the country received from the International Monetary Fund to mitigate the effects of the global financial crisis in 2009.