MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti has been accused by colleagues in his party of backing Elton Mangoma in his calls for the ouster of leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The MDC-T’s national secretary for defence and security Giles Mutsekwa, speaking at a party meeting in Mutare yesterday led a fierce attack on the party’s deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and Biti accusing them of bringing the name of the party into disrepute.
He accused Biti of being behind the whole issue, saying the party’s secretary-general was power-hungry.
Biti and Mangoma were also accused of poking their unwelcome noses into the affairs of Manicaland Province.
“This message is for Tendai Biti and Mangoma. They should know that Manicaland province is behind the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai. We organised this meeting to convey a message that Manicaland is still going strong under the leadership of (David) Chimhini,” Mutsekwa said.
The meeting was attended by Manicaland provincial secretary Misheck Kagurabadza, national organising secretary for women’s assembly Lynette Karenyi, former Mutasa North MP Chimhini and axed Mutare mayor Tatenda Nhamarare among other high profile party figures in the province. “Those who are following him (Mangoma) at some point tried to join Welshman Ncube in 2005 when the party split,” charged Mutsekwa.
The former Housing minister, who is viewed by his camp in the province as the provincial “godfather” added, “Mangoma had never at any time represented Manicaland province.
“I didn’t join the MDC, but I formed it. Mangoma joined it and now he is an outcast, he never had the party at heart and he is a traitor,” he said.
The meeting also called for the ouster of Mangoma, Biti and those in provincial leadership suspected to be backing Mangoma’s calls for leadership renewal.
They accused those fighting in Mangoma’s corner of being “sell-outs”.
“We are in the midst of a struggle and in that struggle we don’t need to change commanders,” said Mutsekwa.
“I was briefed by the president of the party himself about his (Mangoma’s) behaviour and we are of the view that he should appear before a disciplinary tribunal.
“We also advised the president to follow the roots of some of these people to see where they came from and what their intentions are.”
David Chimhini, who contested and lost to provincial chairperson Julius Magarangoma weighed in saying they called the meeting to find out if the districts were still behind Tsvangirai.
Karenyi said the women’s assembly would not allow people to bring the name of the party into disrepute.
Mutsekwa also defended the expelled mayor and three other councillors who allegedly connived and formed a pact with Zanu-PF councillors in Mutare during mayoral elections.
He said the move was necessary to thwart Biti’s attempts to grab power.
Manicaland provincial spokesperson Pishai Muchauraya, who has written on social networks backing Mangoma, said they would not lose sleep over the “illegal meeting”.
“We don’t recognise parallel structures. This province is chaired by Julius Magarangoma and I am his spokesperson,” he said.
“We conduct our meetings at the provincial offices not in the bush.
“They can bark whatever they want, but we will not recognise that and we will not lose sleep over that.”
Representatives of all the party’s 26 districts in Manicaland province attended the meeting and pledged their loyalty to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai. A public spate broke out last week after Mangoma’s controversial letter to the party leader advising him to step down was leaked to the Press.
The letter stormed a heated debate among party members with some calling for Mangoma to be fired from the party while others backed him.
Mangoma and party leader Tsvangirai later met privately on Sunday and reportedly resolved their differences after the MDC-T national executive issued a gag order barring party members from publicly discussing the succession issue.
Contacted for comment Biti said: “I cannot comment on that,” before switching off his phone.