Tsvangirai accuses rivals of 'vote buying'
In shock claims that will sting the pro-senate lobby in the MDC, Tsvangirai said some of the people who voted last Wednesday have now admitted that they were paid to vote for "participation" while others were driven by self interest.
Tsvangirai also hit out at MPs who have joined the pro-senate lobby, calling them "selfish" and describing them as "purveyors of Zanu PF's agenda."
Tsvangirai said in the MDC's so-called Top 6, he had apposed taking the matter of participation to a vote but was forced into the decision by the other five members of the national executive.
“They had already prepared the votes, the ballots and they had bought a lot of people in the council,” Tsvangirai claimed in an interview broadcast on SW Radio Africa Tuesday night.
The MDC was thrown into chaos after Tsvangirai used his executive powers to veto a 33 to 31 vote by the party's national council in favour of taking part in senate elections set for November 26.
The pro-senate lobby is reportedly led by Welshman Ncube and supported by several other senior officials including Gift Chimanikire, Isaac Matongo and party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi. Tsvangirai has crowded himself with party youths, women and trade unionists who support a boycott.
Tsvangirai told SW Radio's Hot Seat programme that council members had simply expressed their private opinions which were not necessarily representative of the general thinking in their provinces.
Tsvangirai would not elaborate on the people behind the vote buying but said some in the MDC, like party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi and national executive member, Renson Gasela, had a personal interest in participating in the Senate.
Tsvangirai said: “I had advised people that it is a dangerous precedent to take a vote in the council and the outcome has proven me right… those who are propagating to go to the senate are selfish people who are only looking at their own self and are now introducing an ethnic agenda, which has never been part of the MDC philosophy at all.”
Asked about MDC Members of Parliament who are also supporting participation, Tsvangirai said there could only be one explanation, “to undermine the MDC and to promote the Zanu PF agenda.”
He said the logical thing was to stay out of the senate and re-group.
Said Tsvangirai: "The party does not have money but people are finding money to dish out to individuals. And you ask yourself where is the money coming from? I am really concerned that this is not a division of principle. This is a division of opportunism and selfish interest.”
Tsvangirai denied any personal rift between himself and Secretary General Welshman Ncube. He said Professor Ncube has his own opinions but the party has a leader and hoped their individual opinions did not conflict with the fact that they have different roles.
Tsvangirai revealed he had a meeting with his deputy Gibson Sibanda, and would be meeting other senior leaders to try and bring calm to the party. He however reiterated that the MDC would not be represented at the senate.
“There may be individuals who may want to take up their own individual position as independents. I have written to the electoral commission. Anyone who wants to manipulate that position with the connivance of Zanu PF can go ahead, but they have one consequence,” railed Tsvangirai.
Critics had charged that if the MDC boycotts the senate then they should boycott parliament. Tsvangirai said the MDC would continue having MPs in parliament, even though they have always said the electoral system is fraudulent. He said as the debate continues the party may review their parliamentary participation.
parties go through turbulences like this. But that does not mean the
plane is crashing," said Tsvangirai.
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