MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday rescued deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma from being assaulted by party youths who were baying for his blood outside Harvest House, accusing him of pushing for the ex-premier’s ouster.
Tsvangirai briefly addressed the youths as he came out of the party headquarters at around 2:30pm and warned them against violent behaviour.
The NewsDay crew witnessed the incident.
“We don’t want noise from you people here. Stop that noise. I don’t want to hear that,” the former trade unionist told the youths.
But the youths shouted back saying they wanted “to teach Mangoma a lesson”.
Informed sources said the party’s Women’s Assembly members also staged a demonstration against Mangoma.
The incident came after Mangoma wrote a letter to Tsvangirai advising him to relinquish his position and allow for leadership renewal following the party’s dismal showing in last year’s harmonised elections.
Yesterday’s incident confirmed that all was not well in the 14-year-old party teetering on the verge of a split reminiscent of 2005 that saw secretary-general Welshman Ncube leading a splinter group with late vice-president Gibson Sibanda. MDC-T youth assembly spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo said the youths would not accept any calls for Tsvangirai’s resignation outside congress.
“The youth assembly is 100% behind Tsvangirai who was elected by congress,” he said.
“We dismiss all so-called calls for our leader to step down.
“We have a clear position on what we are fighting for and Tsvangirai has the answers.”
Women’s assembly chair Theresa Makone also said they would stand by Tsvangirai.
“We reiterate our support for the MDC led by Tsvangirai. We are very clear and solidly behind our president and against all we see and read in the papers of those undermining our leader,” she said.
There are reports that Tsvangirai rejected a $3 million golden handshake to step down as party leader following his July 31 poll defeat, his third by Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe.
Harare provincial spokesperson Obert Gutu said Harare Province was “fully, wholly, totally and unequivocally behind the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai”.
“We are perplexed and perturbed by these misguided, nefarious and Machiavellian calls for the resignation of our leader,” he said.
“We will not stand aside as our leader is trashed and humiliated by latter-day and turncoat democrats who should, instead, concentrate more on protecting the stinking and rotten skeletons in their collapsing cupboards.”
A senior member of the MDC-T told our sister paper NewsDay from his Manicaland base that Tsvangirai must immediately step down citing several reasons, among them being that he had overstayed his welcome.
“We agreed to have a two-term president in the first place, but he is vying for the fourth,” the official said.
“He has failed to account for the accumulation of his wealth over a very short period of time and he has a very strong bond with Zanu PF; he failed to explain to members why he got married to two strong Zanu PF women in a row.”