Tsvangirai moves to avert MDC-T split


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ZIMBABWE – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly embarked on a whirlwind tour of the party’s district and provincial structures to avert a looming split triggered by violent factional fights and reports of Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa’s perceived clashes with him. 

Party insiders told NewsDay yesterday that Tsvangirai was jolted into action last week after receiving reports that the party was on the verge of splitting again, with some top officials pushing for Chamisa’s ouster.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday downplayed the matter, saying the meetings were “nothing out of the ordinary”.

“He is meeting provinces daily and Harare is not the only province he has met. It’s not an issue really that he has met provinces,” he said.

“In November he will be in Mashonaland West and he will go to Mashonaland Central, so there is nothing unusual.

“He meets structures every day. The president comes to the office every day and he was just in a meeting with Mashonaland West province. He is planning to go there in November.

“It’s not unusual. He wants to get it from provinces on what is happening. If he is meeting Harare, there is nothing anomalous about that.”

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said there was no implosion or such fears in the party, describing Tsvangirai’s meetings with structures as “routine” to compare notes.

“It was just a routine meeting to hear the concerns of the people. There is nothing about fear of implosion and I can tell you that is the wish of Zanu PF and the State security agents to create an imaginary implosion. It is Zanu PF that is imploding and not the MDC-T,” Gutu said.

Party insiders said Tsvangirai met Harare district leaders last Thursday, where some executives candidly pleaded with him to rein in unruly elements.

“The meeting went on and the president is not happy with the violence in the party, while he was also told by some that he should not fight those loyal to him,” an MDC-T insider said.

Harare provincial chairman Eric Murayi said of the meeting: “It was just an ordinary meeting like he has another in Buhera, he addresses his people across the country.”

On the issue of violence, Murayi said it was their duty as provincial leaders to advocate for peace and discipline in the province. Media reports yesterday said Tsvangirai came face-to-face with clashes in Bulawayo, where he had gone to meet the family of the late party deputy organising secretary and Nkulumane MP Thamsanqa Mahlangu.

Since its formation in 1999, the MDC-T has had two major splits, with the first in 2005 led by then secretary-general Welshman Ncube and the second one early last year fronted by former secretary-general Tendai Biti.

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