MDC president Welshman Ncube has dismissed as “shameless lies” claims by leader of the main MDC-T faction Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai the infamous 2005 party split was sponsored by the then Sadc-appointed mediator, former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
In his memoirs, titled At the Deep End, Tsvangirai claims Mbeki played a central role in the split of October 12, 2005 and accused Ncube, the party founding secretary-general, and the late MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda of “betrayal”.
Tsvangirai said Ncube held secret meetings with a Zanu PF faction led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to forge an alliance in a bid to “secure Ndebele interests”.
“I knew that Mbeki was in favour of a party split,” Tsvangirai said in the book compiled by his former spokesman, William Bango. “He (Mbeki) wanted the splinter group to join a Zanu PF faction in the hope that their combined force would weaken and eventually destroy the remaining MDC. Mbeki would then pronounce to the world that he had resolved the Zimbabwean crisis.
“They thought I would do anything to prevent a split. I hung on to my thoughts until the situation became so serious that a split had to be faced.”
But, yesterday Ncube dismissed Tsvangirai’s claims as false.
Instead, he said there were two powerful forces that sponsored the MDC split in 2005, but refused to name them.
“But, one day when Zimbabwe is free, we will be able to name those two forces,” said Ncube. “Just about every fundamental fact in that book is a lie. I read with shock and consternation that a person who wants to be President of Zimbabwe would lie unashamedly. At no time did Mbeki support the split, the MDC financially or materially and the congress in 2006. This is complete fabrication.”
But, MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo hit back at Ncube, saying: “If he is not happy with what the Prime Minister wrote, then he should write a book of his own.”
Khumalo added: “In life we can be watching the same thing, but what we see is different and that is not a crime. If he has a problem with what the Prime Minister wrote, then he should write his own book.”
Ncube said the two organisations –which he refused to name –sponsored the split by funding the “Kitchen Cabinet” to kill the influence of intellectuals within the party and make the united MDC a purely socialist workers’ movement.
“With the benefit of hindsight, we would have not gone to Mbeki because of the mutual animosity Tsvangirai and Mbeki had for each other. We went to Mbeki after supporters and some diplomats raised concern about the impending split and suggested that we talk to Mbeki to resolve the matter. In the book, Tsvangirai claims that I funded the trip which is a lie and that Esaph Mdlongwa and Paul Themba Nyathi travelled with me to South Africa, which again is a lie, I travelled with Sibanda and (Gift) Chimanikire.”
Ncube said the Prime Minister lied that after the stalemate on the Senate vote he went to his rural home and that Sibanda had visited him for talks on October 15 of that year.
“On the day of the spilt, Tsvangirai walked out of the meeting and actually held a Press conference at his house in Harare contrary to claims in his book that he went straight to his rural home in Buhera. He told journalists that there had been a tie and he as president of the party had used his casting vote against the Senate elections,” said Ncube.