Tsvangirai sends firefighting team to Bulawayo, ignores provincial probe report


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ZIMBABWE – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has resolved to send a conflict resolution team to Bulawayo province in what some of his supporters have described as a tactful bid to ignore the recently released damning report on problems rocking the structures.

The party’s spokesperson Obert Gutu on Monday confirmed that the team would soon be dispatched to Bulawayo but would not say when.

He said the party was a “democratic” organisation and would want to reach out to its members and tackle issues in “an amicable and comradely” way.

“The president is seized with that matter and in a matter of days if not weeks, the team will be visiting Bulawayo but I can’t tell you exactly when,” said Gutu.

The spokesperson declined to comment on whether or not Tsvangirai was acting on the arbiter’s report.

Insiders however said an emergency meeting will be held sometime this week where the team would be introduced to party members.

Tsvangirai dispatched the party’s arbiter general in April to investigate the cause of chaos rocking the structures in the city and the arbiter recently released a report blaming the MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe and Abednico Bhebhe as chief architects of the commotion.

Tsvangirai has been accused by some sections of his party of ignoring the contents of the report as he has since aligned himself with a faction led by Khupe.

The embattled MDC-T leader is said to be under pressure from the emerging faction reportedly fronted by former organising secretary Nelson Chamisa accused of pushing for an early congress to unseat Tsvangirai from the helm ahead of the 2018 elections.

“Tsvangirai wants to shift attention from the report that’s clear on the characters behind the chaos in the province by deploying this conflict resolution team. This is not the first time that Tsvangirai has ignored a report involving Khupe and it comes as no surprise,” said an MDC-T insider.

“The panicky Tsvangirai needs the Khupe faction in the face of the rise of the Cobra so he will do everything to shield Khupe and members of her faction from blame.”

The source said at the time Tsvangirai dispatched the arbiter general, he had fallen out with Khupe as the two leaders differed on whether or not to participate in the June 10 by- elections.

Tsvangirai, after causing the expulsion of 21 rebel members from Parliament, declared that the party would not take part in the by elections while Khupe and her group reportedly pushed for participation.

“Remember it was the time that Khupe broke down during a meeting of the national executive in Harare after receiving a barrage of insults from junior members of the women’s wing for opposing Tsvangirai,” said another MDC-T source.

Chamisa’s influence was felt at the burial of late Nkulumane legislator Thamsanqa Mahlangu last month where Tsvangirai in one of his typical blunders visited the city and at the last minute chose to snub the burial.

The Kuwadzana legislator stole the moment as he emerged from the church service with Mahlangu’s casket on his shoulder as he led pallbearers to the hearse while Tsvangirai was holed up at a house belonging to a member of Khupe’s faction.

The party’s factions also clashed over control of burial processes with youths exchanging blows with the Khupe grouping at the receiving end and now Tsvangirai was reportedly allowing the purging of everyone linked to Chamisa.

The sources singled out Matson Hlalo’s case as an example of Tsvangirai’s breach of the constitution in the purge of those officials thought to be pro-Chamisa.

The MDC-T national council recently resolved to expel Hlalo from the party after the Senator defied an order to withdraw his court action challenging the election of Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda as the provincial chairperson last year.

“The party’s constitution is clear that the organisation can sue or be sued. It’s based on that spirit that Hlalo launched his court action but now he is being persecuted for that,” said the source.

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