Tsvangirai cracks whip

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has embarked on a countrywide crusade in a bid to patch up widening cracks within the MDC-T ahead of the party’s crucial congress in two weeks’ time.

Cracks within the Prime Minister’s party widened following provincial elections over the past two weeks which were characterised by violence and allegations of vote-buying.

Tsvangirai reportedly read the riot act to senior party members warning them against fanning factionalism.

He addressed senior provincial members in Masvingo, Harare, Chitungwiza, Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central and threatened to smoke out those responsible for causing mayhem in the party.

In Masvingo, Tsvangirai accused senior party officials of using money to buy loyalty from supporters saying this practice was responsible for the factional fights.

Tsvangirai said the factionalism, if not stemmed, could result in the downfall of the country’s biggest political party.

He said the party would crack the whip and expel all those who abused their money to split the supporters of the MDC-T at a critical time to end President Robert Mugabe’s 31-year-old tight grip on power.

Addressing MDC-T senior members in Mashonaland West, Tsvangirai said party members should avoid factionalism as it could lead to the infamous split of the party in 2005.

The Prime Minister described the 2005 split as “the worst experience” for his party.

“The 2005 congress came after the split and it was the worst experience. No one would want to go through that experience again, certainly not me,” he said while addressing MDC-T members in Chinhoyi.

Tsvangirai said the MDC-T should be distinct from Zanu PF and shun violence at all costs.

“Another issue is about violence. What distinguishes MDC-T from Zanu PF?” he said. “The party should be known for peace. There are many churches in this country but there are certain characteristics that distinguish them. If you beat up your own members, what difference do we have with Zanu PF?”

He said there was need for party members to be united.

“The biggest challenge is how we heal the wounds because you honestly cannot disown a party because of the provincial election and we have to accept what came out of the process,” Tsvangirai said.

“There is support for MDC-T on the ground and if we have problems in the leadership, we would have sold the struggle. We have to make sure we have clear criteria of selecting candidates; not that he has guns and maybe he buys a lot of beer.

“Don’t take people for granted and say we have supporters. If people change their hearts you will go.”

He added: “We don’t want to sell the agenda of the struggle. After the congress the next thing is to unite the people. You should have a resolution as a province on how to deal with corruption and disciplinary issues in the party.

“We want to come out (of the congress) strong and with a clear agenda that we are a party ready and worthy to govern.”