MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) is in a quandary after his national council broke ranks with him and initiated a process that may lead to the party pulling out of the inclusive government with President Robert Mugabe over outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA).Impeccable MDC sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the premier was cornered by members of the national council during its meeting in Bulawayo and told to adopt a tough stance against Mugabe on the sticking issues if the unity government was to survive.
On Saturday, the party’s national executive had also met in Bulawayo and adopted the same stance.
The sources said the two meetings exposed deep divisions in the MDC on the feasibility and necessity of the inclusive government.
Tsvangirai, the sources said, was against the proposal to walk out of the inclusive government, but the majority of council members were for the proposition.
“There was general agitation to pull out,” a council member said. “We, however, softened our stance and resolved that we should consult the people on the way forward.”
The decision to engage party structures and the people, the sources said, left Tsvangirai in a dilemma because he would not be able to go against the will of the people if they endorse the pull out.
Senior members of the party have since started campaigning in their respective constituencies for the MDC to disengage from the unity government citing Mugabe and Zanu PF’s intransigence.
Speaking at a rally at White City Stadium on Sunday, MDC youth chairperson Thamsanqa Mahlangu and women assembly boss Theresa Makone — both members of the national executive and council — said their party should disengage from the inclusive government.
MDC MPs from Masvingo province reportedly met on Tuesday and agreed that their party should withdraw from the inclusive government and call for fresh elections. The legislators agreed to campaign for disengagement and the anticipated polls.
Sources said during the council meeting, Tsvangirai was told to give Mugabe a week’s ultimatum to implement fully the unity pact.
Eddie Cross, a council member and a close advisor of Tsvangirai, this week confirmed the ultimatum and the resolution for toughness with Mugabe.
Writing on his website, Cross said Tsvangirai was mandated to tell Mugabe that the “national leadership has resolved to give their Zanu PF counterparts one week to begin to implement the full demands” of the GPA.
Tsvangirai met Mugabe on Monday, but their meeting did not last long as the two protagonists clashed, resulting in Tsvangirai walking out.
The sources said Tsvangirai told Mugabe of the MDC ultimatum on the sticking issues, but Mugabe would have none of that.
“Mugabe told Tsvangirai that his party should cause the removal of sanctions first,” another MDC source said. “Tsvangirai walked out of the meeting after telling Mugabe to seriously consider his party’s demands”.
According to Cross, the tough stance against Mugabe was triggered by the president’s speech to the Sadc Summit in Kinshasa a fortnight ago where he said the inclusive government was working well and that there were no serious impediments.
“We felt that our willingness to compromise to try and make this deal work was being misconstrued as compliance and that this impression had to be corrected,” wrote Cross. “But perhaps the most important challenge came from the ordinary members of the party who felt that the failure to get Zanu PF to play its part in the transitional government was stalling recovery and normalisation.”
Sources said council members were also livid that Tsvangirai told South Africa President Jacob Zuma when he visited Zimbabwe last month that the inclusive government was working well, yet sticking issues of the GPA were not being resolved.
Tsvangirai’s pronouncement, the sources said, contributed to the decision of Sadc not putting Zimbabwe on the agenda of its summit a fortnight ago in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.