Inside the Tsvangirai, Biti war

A TOP member of the MDC-T guardian council Norman Mabhena yesterday made a passionate plea to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his erstwhile secretary-general Tendai Biti to swallow their pride and unite, or forget about winning the next elections.

NQOBILE BHEBHE
CHIEF REPORTER

Mabhena told Southern Eye that after meeting both Biti and Tsvangirai he had reached a conclusion that their war was personal.

He said he met the two separately to try and understand the widening rift in the MDC-T which threatened to destroy the party.

Mabhena, a former war veteran said from the interactions, indications were that instead of finding each other Tsvangirai and Biti “are further drifting” and thirst for personal glory was behind the differences.

“I am making a passionate appeal to the MDC- T president and his secretary-general to seriously reconsider their personal differences. This is critical,” Mabhena said.

“They must look at the bigger picture and the people of Zimbabwe. MDC is not their project.

“They must commit themselves to the people and if they don’t, we will question whether the project is sponsored by a secret hand.

“The MDC is a people’s organisation and people want unity.

“If they don’t unite, they could as well forget about winning the 2018 elections. We should rather give Zanu PF a blank cheque, divided as it is, the right to rule till the second coming of Jesus.”

Several senior MDC members led by Biti, Elton Mangoma and Samuel Sipepa Nkomo broke away from Tsvangirai after they called on him to step down as leader.

Mabhena said in his own view, the differences between Tsvangirai and Biti were personal and driven by the thirst for power.

“It’s unfortunate that the politics of today is now personalised and has become private projects,” he said.

“They are not worried about the people, but about personal power, glory. They must swallow their pride. The late (Vice-President) Joshua Nkomo sacrificed to be led by his former secretary for publicity (President Robert Mugabe) for the sake of the people.

“When Zapu split leading to the formation of Zanu PF, that prolonged the liberation struggle and the MDC split is heading towards that direction of prolonging the emancipation of Zimbabweans from Zanu PF.”

Asked if calls for Tsvangirai to step down were genuine, Mabhena said it was not up to a few top individuals to decide.

“This is a people’s project. If change is needed then the people must make that decision at congress,” he said.

“If you make decisions as individuals, that means we no longer respect the people.

“A leader is elected by the people and removed by the people during a free and fair congress and not one whose structures are subject to manipulation.”

Tsvangirai and Biti have taken turns to expel each other from the MDC-T ever since their fights exploded into the public domain early this year.

Indications are that the MDC-T will split for the second time since its formation in 1999 following the 2005 fallout.

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