Industry and Commerce minister and president of the smaller faction of the MDC Welshman Ncube has challenged Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to debate issues of national concern rather than ethnic and regional origins of political leaders.
He was responding to Tsvangirai’s statements to the international media that his party was regional and not national.
Speaking on the possible reunification of the two MDCs ahead of future polls, Tsvangirai told a Paris-based magazine, Africa Report, that: “. . . They (MDC) have retreated to be a regional party, so I don’t think it’s healthy for uniting the people.”
Ncube immediately shot back upon hearing the news saying: “We should be debating ideas, policies and programmes to take our country and our people to prosperity and not this. We invite the PM to a debate at any place, any time on any issue of policy or on any subject concerning the welfare and interests of the people. We have no desire to debate him on fiction. I hope that this is the last time we have to sink to this level of shamelessness, despicability and emptiness,” Ncube said.
He said the MDC would, in the next elections, seek votes of everyone despite their geographical location and origin.
“We promise the PM that he will not only find us in the region he presumes our party is found in, but in every other region of the country. We will run a national campaign to win the confidence of all the people from all regions so that we can obtain their mandate to form the next government. We will never practice discrimination,” said Ncube.
“We are left to speculate as to why the PM might have suffered a momentary lapse of judgment for we have no doubt in our minds that we remain as national a party as we ever have been. If he had informed the people then we would be in a sufficiently informed position to respond to him and if necessary to take corrective measures so that we could undo whatever it is we did to render ourselves a regional party.”
Ncube said MDC was more national in its outlook and structure than MDC-T, as their leadership was more balanced and representative of the national outlook than MDC-T.
“For the record, I as president of the party, originate from the Midlands, in Lower Gweru, right at the heart of the country, I am Ndebele. The vice-president, Edwin Mushoriwa, is Manyika, but was brought up by his mother, who is Zezuru, in Chikomba. The national nhairman is Goodrich Chimbaira, from Chitungwiza, but originally from Chikomba, he is Zezuru.
“The vice-chairman, Frank Chamunorwa, is from Chihota and lives in Harare, he is Zezuru.
“The secretary-general is Priscilla Misihairabwi–Mushonga, she is Karanga originally from Masvingo, but grew up in Mt Darwin.
“Her deputy is Moses Mzila-Ndlovu from Bulilima. He is Kalanga,” said Ncube.
“I do not know what seized the PM to cause him to accuse us of retreating into being a regional party. Could he be suggesting that a party becomes regional once its president originates from outside Mashonaland and his or her mother language is Ndebele? I hope not.”