Tsvangirai fires fresh salvo at colleagues
It took extraordinary efforts to get the MDC leader to meet his senior colleagues in talks aimed at healing a widening rift caused by Tsvangirai's refusal to endorse a majority decision supporting participation in senate elections later next month.
Senior officials, including Tsvangirai's deputy Gibson Sibanda, secretary general Welshman Ncube and party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi have openly rebuked Tsvangirai for defying a decision of the party's national council to contest the senate elections.
and a political analyst (Brian Raftopoulos) respected by both factions
brought the warring parties together towards the end of last week, following
which Tsvangirai and Sibanda addressed reporters. In a brief statement,
they said it had been agreed that both factions would stop making "acrimonious
He addressed MDC supporters in Silobela, a town in Midlands North province where three candidates defied him by registering to contest the November 26 elections in which 50 of 66 upper house seats will be filled.
The Voice of America quoted him telling supporters that the debate on the senate was not the real issue in the intra-party dispute, because a truly united party would never have come to the brink of a schism over the question of whether to participate in the elections or boycott them.
On Saturday, Tsvangirai returned to the capital, Harare, where he launched a severe attack on the pro-senate group, claiming they were working with Zanu PF in order to form a unity government.
Addressing supporters in Kuwadzana, he said: “The issue that is there is not about the senate only. It is about whether you want to confront (President Robert) Mugabe or you want to compromise with Mugabe. Some of us are now working towards a unity accord. We are saying ‘no’ to unity accord number two. With us there is no unity accord… we will not do what (the late vice-president Joshua) Nkomo did."
Although no names were mentioned, it was clear who was the target of Tsvangirai's attack. The clues were written all over his message as he claimed his political opponents had "retreated to Bulawayo" -- reference to Ncube, Nyathi and Sibanda's home city.
According to the Daily Mirror, Tsvangirai told his supporters that they (pro-senate MDC leaders) could not hide in Bulawayo for long and that he would soon be visiting the region to entrench the “No to Senate message”.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi immediately hit back at Tsvangirai -- all but confirming a solution to the crisis is further away.
“I am not aware of any member of the MDC doing that (advocating a unity government)," Nyathi said.
"It's fiction. It is unfortunate that part of the disagreements within the party over the senate issue have seen some resorting to the tendency of demonising others. Insulting those that hold a different view point is very unMDC. We can debate this issue of the senate without casting aspersions. If you have strong points, you have to raise your flag and not insult other people.”
Reports say several songs attacking the pro-senate group were sung at the Kuwadzana rally.
“Vamwe vedu voita mutserendende parazor” (Some among us are sliding on razor blades) and “Mupanduki chera mwena (traitor dig a hole)”, Tsvangirai's supporters sang.
Asked whether his party had any talks with MDC officials towards the establishment of a unity government, Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said: “The MDC leader is always dreaming about things that are not true.”
Reports on Sunday had suggested that a compromise deal was in the offing. A South African newspaper on reported that one of the compromises was that Tsvangirai would dispense with his "kitchen cabinet" of paid and volunteer advisors "who have become more important to him than elected officials."
those who believed and still do, that adherence to the MDC constitution
is a bottom line may quietly try and persuade candidates now registered
for next month's senate elections to withdraw......an exception might
be made for the Matabeleland provinces," the Sunday Argus reported.
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