PROBLEMS bedevilling the crumbling MDC-T continue to mount as the party leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, yesterday openly told those pushing for his ouster to leave the party.
In his address at the rally, Mr Tsvangirai said his party would move ahead with or without the Biti-Mangoma grouping.
“Kane pane asingade kuita fall in line, be out of line,” he said.
“I have not run out of manpower, but ndirikuti kana muchida struggle yekuti uyai tiite change , ngatibvisei Zanu-pf, let’s work together. But if you do not want to work with me, you are free to leave,” he said.
Mr Tsvangirai reiterated that he was not going anywhere despite growing calls for him to resign.
“Isu ana Tsvangirai tinoenda ku congress. Kana pane aneshave rekudyiwa, anouya. There are some who wish this party away. Everyday, they are saying what they want, even journalists, they are writing what they want . . . but we are saying, they cannot destroy our collective spirit,” he said.
Mr Tsvangirai, who appears to have lost weight, tried to save face by speaking against violence in the wake of the recent assault of Mr Mangoma at the party’s headquarters. However, his statement was in sharp contrast to the tense atmosphere that engulfed the rally’s venue as marauding MDC-T youths openly declared war against Biti, Mangoma and Madzore.
They chanted derogatory slogans against the pro-leadership renewal group.
“Pasi naMangoma, pasi naBiti naMadzore . . . kana vasingadi ngavayende nekuti vapanduki (down with Mangoma, Biti and Madzore; they are free to quit the party because they are rebels),” was the slogan of the day.
Some unruly youths shouted obscenities against MDC-T Chitungwiza provincial chairperson Mr Alex Musundire whom they accused of being aligned to Mr Biti.
On the other hand, MDC-T national organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa, party official Mrs Tracy Mutinhiri, MDC-T national executive member Mr Fidelis Mhashu and Chitungwiza mayor Philip Mutoti took turns to sing praises of Mr Tsvangirai whom the variously described as a “godfather”, “father figure” and “a great leader”
Asked to comment on the absence of Mr Biti, Mr Chamisa said “This is not a Biti rally but a Morgan Tsvangirai rally.”
It emerged that the secretary-general, Mr Tendai Biti, was said to have rushed to South Africa, amid reports that he is likely to link up with Mr Roy Bennett, who is leading a group of donor-savvy members calling for leadership renewal in the party. Mr Bennett has openly called for leadership renewal in the MDC-T, adding that Mr Tsvangirai’s continued stay in power does not reflect the will of the people.
Mr Biti, deputy treasurer-general Mr Elton Mangoma, Youth Assembly chairman Mr Solomon Madzore, Harare provincial chairman Mr Paul Madzore and Warren Park MP Engineer Elias Mudzuri yesterday were conspicuous by their absence at the rally at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre.
The clique is understood to have boycotted the rally in protest against Mr Mangoma’s purported suspension by the MDC-T national council on Friday. Mr Biti has openly declared the suspension null and void.
The MDC-T national council met last Friday and declared that Mr Mangoma had been suspended for openly calling for Mr Tsvangirai to relinquish his post. On the same day, Mr Biti hurriedly arranged a Press conference where he said the suspension of Mr Mangoma was illegal, widening the nasty rift within the party.
Mr Mangoma’s lawyer, Mr Jacob Mafume, yesterday said his client could not attend the rally because of “rogue elements that are prone to violence. Our client could not attend the rally because of some rogue elements that are intent on hurting him as was the case at Harvest House recently.
He will attend other rallies as he is still a member of the party because his reported suspension is null and void,” he said.