MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai last night denied reports that he had given the party’s Bulawayo provincial executive permission to suspend chairman Gorden Moyo.
Provincial secretary Albert Mhlanga on Monday said Tsvangirai had given them the go ahead to suspend Moyo for allegedly sympathising with “expelled” secretary-general Tendai Biti’s faction.
Moyo who is also MP for Makokoba, has come under fire for allegedly sympathising with Biti’s faction seeking to topple Tsvangirai.
On Saturday a meeting was convened to suspend him in Bulawayo, but was disrupted by MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe.
Mhlanga had said Tsvangirai candicated there was no reason Moyo’s suspension could not go ahead. The move was seen as an indication of a big fallout between Moyo and Tsvangirai who emerged as strong allies in the aftermath of the split of the united MDC.
But the MDC-T leader was quick to wriggle himself out of the controversy yesterday, telling Voice of America’s Studio 7 that Mhlanga misrepresented facts.
He said he cannot contradict Khupe on the issue.
“I heard yesterday (Monday) Mhlanga saying things that we never talked about. He came to see me in Harare about their provincial council meeting,” Tsvangirai said.
“I told him he could not be conducting provincial council meetings. Instead I advised him to stage workshops to teach our supporters the party ideology; that’s the same thing the vice-president (Khupe) was saying.”
He said Moyo could not be fired because he did not attend the meeting at Mandel Training Centre where Biti’s faction resolved to suspend Tsvangirai and his lieutenants.
“I cannot be at variance with my deputy president because we are in the same office,” he said.
“When Mhlanga raised the Gorden Moyo issues, I asked him ‘Where is Gorden?’ What I know is that you cannot fire someone who is on leave. Gorden Moyo is still on leave. Therefore, he cannot be fired,” Tsvangirai added.
“Secondly, Gorden Moyo did not attend the Mandel meeting. The lawmakers that we fired from the party are those that attended the Mandel meeting.
“Gorden Moyo cannot be dragged into this issue because he is on leave and he did not go to Mandel.”
Moyo took a break from MDC-T activities before the infighting exploded and some in Bulawayo accuse him of sympathising with Biti.
Mhlanga had told Southern Eye that Moyo’s suspension would be announced on Friday, but Tsvangirai said this was not true.
“What I want to tell our supporters is that what Mhlanga said yesterday (on Studio 7) is not what I discussed with him,” the MDC-T leader said.
“Mhlanga knows what we talked about. He must say the truth.
“I sent him an sms telling him that I was very disappointed in what he had just said (on Studio 7). ‘Why would you say things that we never discussed’?”
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora had earlier told Southern Eye that Moyo had not been suspended.
“They have not suspended him, who told you that?” he said.
“There is no suspension that I know about.
“I know that the Saturday meeting did not suspend anyone. If there was any suspension there would be minutes to that effect.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mhlanga were fruitless yesterday as his mobile phone was not reachable.