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Tsvangirai set me up: Mangoma

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EMBATTLED MDC-T deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma, who was bashed by party youths over the weekend following his call on party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to step down, yesterday accused the ex-premier of deliberately setting him up against the youths as they emerged from Harvest House.

EVERSON MUSHAVA/MOSES MATENGA

In an exlclusive interview with our sister paper NewsDay, Mangoma denied claims that Tsvangirai had rescued him from the marauding party youths. The former Energy minister claimed that Tsvangirai dumped and left him at the mercy of the youths despite an earlier agreement that the MDC-T leader would lead him to the safety of his official vehicle.

“He (Tsvangirai) led me to the slaughter,” Mangoma said.

“I was beaten straight in his face. He was supposed to take me to the car but suddenly stopped when we were outside where I was beaten up. I bled and my eye-glasses were broken. I wonder why he is now lying. I don’t know what he wants to achieve but what I know is the whole thing was planned.”

However, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka recused his boss from the alleged grand scheme saying: “President Tsvangirai on Saturday rescued Mangoma and (secretary-general Tendai) Biti from a tense crowd outside Harvest House.”

He said Tsvangirai ordered the restive supporters to desist from violence contrary to reports that he was complicit.

“The party president’s security staff took Mangoma to Tsvangirai’s car, where some youths yanked his shirt as they tried to pull him out of the vehicle demanding an explanation as to why Mangoma was seeking to remove the president outside the democratic forum of a congress.”

Mangoma was taken to Tsvangirai’s house in Highlands.

“Realising there appeared to be danger for Biti, the president took the party secretary-general in his car to his house where they found Mangoma with a tattered shirt. As for Biti, contrary to media reports, he left with the president and was never assaulted.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Tsvangirai has clean hands and a pure heart,” Tamborinyoka said.

But Mangoma yesterday maintained that he had been assaulted as Tsvangirai watched, adding that party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora had also issued a statement confirming the incident. Mwonzora in his statement acknowledged that Mangoma was assaulted, but blamed infiltration by Zanu PF on the attack.

Part of Mwonzora’s statement read: “We were therefore surprised when some people attacked Hon Mangoma. It is clear that besides harming Hon Mangoma these yet-to-be identified people wanted to embarrass President Tsvangirai and the entire MDC Party and portray them as intolerant.”

Said Mangoma: “There is a contradiction here because if you look at it, Mwonzora acknowledged that I was attacked, so what has changed now? They agreed I was beaten by Zanu PF agents, now they say I wasn’t even beaten at all, lies like this can’t be allowed at all.

“This was well planned because people had posters even in the meeting denouncing me and (MDC 99 president) Job Sikhala had warned on his Facebook page that violence would be unleashed on those opposing Tsvangirai. These people should be ashamed that they beat up a disabled person. I don’t know what culture they are trying to build. They try to lie to cover up. This is very unfortunate,” Mangoma said.

Sikhala yesterday confirmed the Facebook message.

“l warned people on my Facebook wall that anyone who wants to challenge Tsvangirai would be dealt with violently. Violence runs in the bloodstream of the MDC. The party is run by thugs,” Sikhala said.

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