Nyathi hits back at Tsvangirai bribery claims
Nyathi, the MDC’s
national spokesman said he was “distressed” and “hurt”
by the MDC leader’s “defamatory” claims after the
party’s pro-senate lobby won a clear majority.
Nyathi was stung by Tsvangirai’s claims made on SW Radio Africa on Tuesday, including suggestions that Nyathi and another national executive member, Renson Gasela, wanted senate seats.
“Unless circumstances change, and they would have to change drastically, I have no interest (in a senate seat),” Nyathi stormed on Thursday.
“I repeat I have no interest in standing for a senatorial seat for the simple reason that I have a lot of work that would actually be put into jeopardy by my standing. If Mr Tsvangirai had the courtesy of asking me instead of making disparaging remarks, I would have told him my position.
“There was an outcome of a vote in the National Council. I was asked what happened. My response was... ‘the outcome was 33 in favour of participation 31against, 2 votes were spoilt and that the position of the MDC president is that he does not accept that outcome.‘
“Was I expected to tell a lie to say there wasn’t a vote or that there wasn’t an outcome which was 33 vs 31? Where is the challenge here, can anybody tell me what constitutes a challenge if you tell the truth as it is and the president tells a different view. Where is the challenge on the leader’s authority?
Nyathi also rejected Tsvangirai’s claims that the national council members who voted only expressed their opinions and not necessarily those of their constituents.
“I’m extremely reluctant to get involved in that kind of discussion given the amount of intimidation that has been coming directly from the president’s office,” Nyathi said.
“I’m too embarrassed and ashamed as a member of the MDC to even talk about those things and I hope Mr Tsvangirai himself would actually desist from talking about those things because they put the party in disrepute, because they are not very helpful in the search for a resolution to this extremely difficult matter.”
Nyathi would not engage on whether it was simpler to boycott, insisting that there was a different dimension altogether and did not want to get involved in a situation where he might appear as supporting one group or another.
“It’s not good enough for democracy for somebody to claim that another group wants to participate because they want money…..they want to participate because they have been bought by Zanu PF and so on. That kind of language is, in my view, inimical to democracy. Let’s hear both sides. We shouldn’t attempt to block debate by imputing impure motives on those who seek to participate or those who seek not to participate.
“It’s imperative for us as leaders to desist from making statements which are not very helpful… because those who are bent on creating mischief will go ahead and spread those rumours…we had it coming, we have ourselves to blame for failing to protect our integrity.”
Nyathi also said the MDC was “wasting time bickering and spending endless time throwing insults and organising violence against each other.”
“Zanu PF is at its weakest. But look at us as a party, are we taking advantage of this party that is virtually on its knees? Of course not… It is despicable. It is a betrayal of the people of Zimbabwe; I find it absolutely appalling that we are doing that kind of thing…”
On Thursday, South African President Thabo Mbeki extended an invitation to the MDC’s leaders. All but Tsvangirai from the MDC’s powerful “Top Six” flew to South Africa to meet Mbeki.
Tsvangirai’s spokesman, William Bango, said the MDC leader only heard of the trip as “rumours”.
The other five members of the “Top Six” who flew to South Africa were Professor Welshman Ncube, Gift Chimanikire, Fletcher Dulini, Isaac Matongo and vice president Gibson Sibanda. They are all known to favour participation in the senate.
Also Thursday, President Robert Mugabe had a crowd of Zanu PF youths in stitches during a televised speech. He told the youths Tsvangirai did not accept defeat.
“He doesn’t want to be defeated,” a cheerful Mugabe said. “In the 2002 presidential elections, he claimed that he was the one who had won. Now he has been rejected by his own people, but he still won’t accept the results.”
The group that opposes senate participation has argued strongly that it’s a costly exercise and the money could be better spent on fighting poverty, improving the health system and creating employment.
of participation – mostly from the MDC’s stronghold in Matabeleland
– insist that having MDC MPs alongside Zanu PF senators would
be highly disruptive and could weaken the party’s hold on secure
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