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Biti snubs Tsvangirai as MDC cracks widen

Cracks within the MDC-T widened yesterday as secretary-general, Tendai Biti snubbed a rally addressed by party president, Morgan Tsvangirai in Chitungwiza.

BY OUR STAFF

Biti’s rebuff came a day after he came out in defence of deputy treasurer-general, Elton Mangoma after his suspension by the MDC-T national council on allegations of bringing the party into disrepute for publicly calling for Tsvangirai to resign.

MDC-T national council on allegations of bringing the party into disrepute for publicly calling for Tsvangirai to resign.

Biti, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, declared Mangoma’s purported suspension null and void saying as secretary general of the party, it was him who was supposed to have laid charges against the deputy treasurer-general in the first place – which he had not done.

Although there was no direct reference to Biti and Mangoma at the Chitungwiza rally, speaker after speaker denounced so-called party rebels, while at the same time endorsing Tsvangirai’s leadership.

The only speaker to make direct reference to Mangoma was women’s assembly boss and former co-Home Affairs minister, Theresa Makone.
She said with pride that it was the women’s assembly which initiated the suspension of Mangoma at its meeting on January 27.

“Women are very clear. We were the first ones to pass a resolution that Mangoma must go,” Makone said.

She said that rebels in the party were going to break from MDC-T to form their own party.

Makone said Mangoma’s case had set precedence, adding that MDC-T officials who discussed party issues in public should meet similar fate.

She said there was need to investigate the real person behind Mangoma.
However, Tsvangirai skirted the issue of Mangoma, but said he was opposed to party officials and supporters who made inciting slogans against others.

“Whatever problems happening in the party, these will be resolved,” he said. “The MDC-T is united with me as leader and you [supporters and officials] following behind. If you do not want to follow, get out of the line.”

Tsvangirai said unlike President Robert Mugabe, he would one day pass on the baton to a new leader of the party.

“I am not Mugabe who personalised the struggle. Zanu PF will die with Mugabe,” he said.

Tsvangirai dismissed reports that the MDC-T was now broke after donors withdrew funding because of the leadership squabbles in the party. He said the party would never go broke because it still enjoyed widespread grassroots support.

He reiterated calls for MDC 99 leader Job Sikhala, Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly and other opposition parties, to unite with his MDC-T in order to confront Zanu PF as a united front.
“I have not run out of manpower, but if you want to deliver change, let’s come together,” he said.

Hundreds of party supporters attended the rally where Tsvangirai was accompanied by his deputy Thokozani Khupe. Several other officials, among them deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada, organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa and deputy chairperson Morgan Komichi, who again likened Tsvangirai to the biblical Jacob, were present.

MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said the national council meeting made its decision to suspend Mangoma based on the information made available by party national chairman, Lovemore Moyo in his report.

“Nobody including the secretary general [Biti] raised any objections on the charges themselves,” Mwonzora told The Standard. “The MDC members and officials must give the justice process a chance. In this regard, nobody must interfere with the justice process in the MDC.”
Mwonzora said Biti was free to assist Mangoma when his case comes before the disciplinary committee comprising three independent lawyers.

“During the disciplinary proceedings Mangoma can raise any defence on the substance of the charges or on any technical issues that may be beneficial to the defence,” he said.

“What is not acceptable is for some people to try to stop the disciplinary process because that is not democratic.”

Mwonzora said his party stood for the rule of law, transparency, justice, fairness and democracy.

He said leaders should subject themselves to due process once allegations are raised against them.

“It will be wrong for any person to try to stop the law from taking its course where a senior member has been accused of serious charges,” he said.

MDC-T BATTLE GENERATES DEBATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Elton Mangoma yesterday referred questions to his lawyer, Jacob Mafume who could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in church the whole day.

But on his Facebook page, Mafume insisted that Mangoma should not have been suspended without being afforded the right to be heard.
“This is an elementary rule of natural justice which a party of trade unionists and student leaders should well be aware of,” he said.

He said Article 12 of the MDC-T constitution provides that a two thirds majority must be obtained for disciplinary measures to be recommended for a Standing Committee Member.

Mafume said there was no record of the composition of the council and no results of the voting had been announced.

”There is a dubious claim of a Stalinist 100% unanimity. Even Zanu PF no longer records those,” he said. “Why are democrats afraid of a secret ballot on such important matters or even the elementary counting of hands. The decision is thus null and void from the start and cannot stand no matter how often it is repeated or cheered.”

The case of Mangoma and Biti’s statement generated intense debate on social media networks. Harare province spokesperson, Obert Gutu questioned the decision by Biti to hold a press conference at his law firm offices.

“When a very senior party official nicodemously addresses a press conference behind the backs of his colleagues and lacks the courage of his conviction to speak out his mind in a national council meeting,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “He has actually committed a very serious and punishable breach of the party constitution.”

11 Responses to Biti snubs Tsvangirai as MDC cracks widen

  1. Gutter Poet March 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    Might the MDC Executive have promoted certain persons beyond their competencies? People like Chamisa, Biti , Makone and Chairman Moyo come to mind. How Tsvangirayi was expected to have carried the day at the polls become a mystery with these kinds of liuetenants. Having said this, it is for this reason among others that Tsvangirayi should do the honorable thing and create room at the top for a new fresh pair of hands. Really why should a small issue like dissent in the executives in a democratic party create all these waves? Is this not what democratic discourse is all about? There really should not be any us and them in all this. Biti is right this once that as SG the buck of which direction party discourse is handled rests with him and his chairman..but can he say with a straight face he has been true to his mandate to date or he is just as confused as those watching the confusion in his party? And that this is happening under his watch makes this doubly pathetic..and to believe this guy has ambitions for high office..what sort of animal is going to come out with this joker at the helm?

  2. Bvumo March 9, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    The goings on in mdc t is a clear indication that the party is in dire need of leadership rejuvination nomatter how tsvangirai might want to stiffle debate

  3. Musona March 9, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    MDC-T top officials fighting over deck chairs on the sinking ship! Using the same dirty tactics they accuse ZanuPF of doing to remain in power. Browbeating any opposition within. This useless party should just disband. Not serving any purpose. This party is no better than a religious sect which promises the earth but delivers zero. Hot air from praise singer-in-chief Theresa Makone. Using the same strategy since 1999. These people are daft. How do they hope to stop ZanuPF turning the next elections into a “military operation”? Do they think ZanuPF is going to disappear into thin air somehow? Tsvangirai’s bootlickers were falling over each other in Chitungwiza to see who bootlicks best. Tsvangirai has surrounded himself with yes-men and yes-women just like Mugabe.

  4. Benjamin March 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    Biti cant be trusted he must follow mangoma OUT

  5. chimwango March 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Mangoma,Biti and company should just get out of MDC T and form thier own party if they feel they have other democratic idears they cant apply right now for the benefit of the party and the people.

  6. Stingray March 9, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    Driving into town I saw a large billboard with the picture of a smiling Cde Biti reading a zanu pf election manifesto. One head line in todays news says Cde Biti praises zanu pf. No wonder why the MDC lost the election and Cde Biti narrowly won his seat. He is zanupf through and through

  7. makwai bota March 9, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    Nothing wrong with leadership change, maitiro ndoashata, Garai pasi muteedzere gwara remusangano.

    Paita vatengesi ne mhandu dzakadyarwa mumusangano.

    Budai nguva iripo mugokasika kuzikanwa nokuzovhoterwa.

  8. Mandy March 9, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    Mangoma and Bennet must present audited reports of the party’s finances. I know for sure the company I worked for was since 2009 donating not less than $50 000 per month through the two gentlemen. I want to believe my former company is still doing so to this day. That is in spite of the fact that the two gentlemen I have mentioned hated us like dirty and tried to prevent us from operating. We were always told that they wanted to personally take over our company through what they call hostile takeovers.
    I am aware of two other companies, more endowed than ours that were donating similar amounts. The question is how many other companies were doing this.
    I want to further just let you on on some disturbing development concerning the secretary general who is being sued by Didymus Mutasa of zpf in a defamation suit. It has been confirmed that Mutasa through his lawyers agreed to an out of court settlement and requested Tendai Biti to make a deposit to show commitment. As of three weeks ago the mdc t secretary general had deposited half a million dollars to the lawyers and Biti is reported to have indicated that he would be comfortable with a settlement totaling one million three hundred dollars, $1 300 000.
    Over and above this I confirm to you that the mdc t secretary general, who has not practiced law since dollarization in 2009, in the last five years has bought a holiday home in Nyanga – just next to simba makoni’s and has also bought a number of properties in harare. The Tendai we knew in 2008 drove a miserly nissan twin cab, acquired from parliament and an old BMW. My friend who is very close to Tendai tells me that the man is now stinking rich – mari haizivane pana Biti so he says. He actually estimates his wealthy at $19 million, exclusive of his the two mansions that he owns in Harare.
    His right hand man and MDC T Director General, Toendepi Shone who is the reported conduit of donor funds has built a big supermarket in the Zimplats area. Most of the Swedish money totaling over $6 million is reported to have been abused between Tendayi Biti, Welshman Ncube, Fortune Gwaze and Isaac Maphosa through the Zimbabwe Institute, the latter institution has delivered nothing since its constitution.
    I will not write anything about Elton and Bennett for now but promise to come back soon with not so juicy news about the two. Unfortunately I may not come back to this forum for that.

    • Mclean March 10, 2014 at 7:27 am #

      You might also do well by telling juicy news about Tsvangirai, how he has abused donor funds. He is the chief culprit.

  9. chamu March 9, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    why do not yu guyz just take a leaf from zanu, though i do not support this zanu thing but they have demonstrated how unity is important to achieve goals. Yu guyz am sory to say this although am 100 per cent support yu, all our efforts to bring about change will go down the drain becoz of your unnecessary squabbles. It pains me and all those who died for the struggle

  10. Muzodza March 16, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Guys this is ridiculous. Morgan tsvangirai does not have a bone of honour in his vody. The party constitution says that a person leads for 2 terms. Achirikudei pachigaro. He has failed numerous times to wrestle the presidency away from mugabe but still wants to lead the party. Party haisi yakumba kwenyu iyo morgan. How can you claim to become a democratic government without internal party democracy? Ngaende ngaende. Same fanana ne zanu.

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