MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said he had resolved problems rocking the leadership of the party following talks with his rivals.
There were fears MDC-T was heading for a split following the suspension of deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma for leading calls for Tsvangirai to step down. Former Finance minister Tendai Biti who is also MDC-T secretary-general had spoken publicly against Mangoma’s treatment and the purge against those perceived to be against the opposition party’s leader.
But yesterday Biti sat beside Tsvangirai at a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Harare to announce the outcome of efforts to end infighting that has gripped the MDC-T for the past few months.
“We have discussed our issues and there is now unprecedented harmony and unity of purpose in the MDC cockpit,” Tsvangirai said.
“The party is not in turmoil. Of course this was just a bleep in the struggle.” He said the party had met last Friday to iron out the differences. “I can assure you that in those five-hours of no-holds barred discussions, we told each other the brutal, but honest truth that will save this party and ensure the security of the faith and trust the people have bestowed on us,” he said.
Tsvangirai has been battling calls that he should step down since he lost yet another election against President Robert Mugabe in July last year.
Mangoma was the first official to publicly call for the former trade unionist to step down after he first wrote him a letter privately calling for leadership renewal to save MDC-T from collapse. Mangoma was severely assaulted at the MDC-T Harvest House headquarters after a party meeting to discuss his letter.
He was subsequently suspended from the party pending a disciplinary hearing.
A purge of provincial executives that were perceived to be sympathetic to Mangoma then ensued leading to chaos in Manicaland, Matabeleland North and South.
Other officials that have been linked to the leadership renewal calls include Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross, former organising secretary Ellias Mudzuri and exiled treasurer general Roy Bennet. There have been calls to bring the MDC-T congress due in 2016 forward to settle the dispute.
However, Tsvangirai did not appear ready for a compromise yesterday saying he would not tolerate in discipline.
“Leadership unity is not negotiable,” he said. “As we move forward. It’s time to remobilise.”
Tsvangirai has been at the helm of the MDC since 1999 and in 2005 saw the party splitting into two after he refused to endorse a decision to participate in senatorial elections.