ZIMBABWE – MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai allegedly misled the opposition party’s national council a fortnight ago that Bulawayo Senator Matson Hlalo did not withdraw his litigation against the party, yet the two struck a deal where they agreed to defer court actions while pursuing internal remedies on how to deal with the contentious post of provincial chairperson for Bulawayo.
The opposition party’s national council resolved to expel Sen Hlalo for allegedly defying the party directive to withdraw his court action, in which he was challenging the ascension of Mr Gift Banda as the party’s provincial chairperson for Bulawayo ahead of him.
But according to documents at hand, Sen Hlalo wrote a letter to Mr Tsvangirai agreeing to abandon the court action consistent with an earlier meeting the two convened at Harvest House offices, the party’s headquarters.
Mr Tsvangirai is now under fire for allegedly misleading the national council to expel Sen Hlalo as part of a grand plan to elbow out those aligned to national executive member, Mr Nelson Chamisa.
According to minutes available, Mr Tsvangirai held a meeting with Sen Hlalo on April 20, 2015 where it was agreed that the outspoken legislator would put his court action in abeyance pending investigation by the arbiter general.
An arbiter general is provided for in the opposition party’s constitution to preside over disputes.
Sen Hlalo subsequently wrote to Mr Tsvangirai committing himself to what had been agreed in the earlier meeting.
The meeting was attended by Bulawayo legislator, Ms Nicole Brown and Bulawayo Central National Assembly member Ms Dorcas Sibanda who was acting chairperson of the province.
“It was agreed that Hon Hlalo was going to put his court case on hold in order to allow the arbiter general to carry out an independent inquiry into Bulawayo province problems. It was also resolved in the meeting that Gift Banda would stand aside as soon as Hon Dorcas Sibanda becomes acting chairperson of the province,” reads the minutes.
Three days after the meeting, Sen Hlalo wrote a letter addressed to Mr Tsvangirai committing himself to complying with what they had agreed in the meeting.
“Reference is made to a meeting I had with you, Mr President and Honourable N Brown and D Sibanda on 20 April 2015 at the party headquarters. Following a meeting with my legal practitioners and guided at all times by the best interest of the party that I so highly regard, I wish to advise that I have agreed and will not prosecute the matters that I filed at the High Court of Bulawayo pending the finalisation of investigations by the Arbiter Genera,” reads the letter by Sen Hlalo.
He implored Mr Tsvangirai to ensure that the arbiter general spoke with all parties to the dispute.
“That the Arbiter General’s investigations will be all encompassing, seek representation from all parties, including myself and some of our members who are respected and objective,” reads part of the letter written by Sen Hlalo.
He proposed that findings should be discussed before adoption.
Contacted MDC-T spokesperson, Mr Obert Gutu, insisted that the party had acted properly in handling the case of Sen Hlalo.
“The national council deliberated on Senator Hlalo’s case and a resolution was adopted as we have already communicated to the relevant stakeholders. This matter was handled very transparently and amicably. I am pretty sure that Hon Hlalo himself is aware of the process that took place. Everything was done in accordance with the dictates of the party constitution.The MDC is a party of excellence. We follow our rules and regulations. No party member will be subjected to unfair treatment,” said Mr Gutu.
The arbiter general, Wilbert Musamirapamwe, implicated party vice president Ms Thokozani Khupe and organising secretary, Mr Abednico Bhebhe of fuelling divisions and disharmony in the party, an observation that went unheeded by Mr Tsvangirai.
The MDC-T has been embroiled in factional fights pitting Mr Tsvangirai on one hand and Mr Chamisa on the other.
This is not the first time Mr Tsvangirai has lied to the MDC-T national council having cut his teeth by misrepresenting the council’s position on participating in the Senate elections in 2005, a development that led to the first of the party’s many splits on October 12 that year.