MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday pleaded with former party officials who broke away from the original MDC to join forces and hinted that his party may hold an early elective congress to choose new leadership ahead of the 2018 general elections.
BY MOSES MATENGA/EVERSON MUSHAVA
Addressing about 1 000 party supporters in Budiriro suburb, Harare, Tsvangirai also blasted some diplomats and donors for allegedly fuelling divisions in the party.
The MDC-T was initially scheduled to hold its elective congress in 2016, but of late there have been increasing calls from among its membership to have the congress earlier.
“Unity is important in the MDC and I will not throw anyone out of the tent,” Tsvangirai said, dispelling talk that he was planning to kick out MDC-T deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and other party leaders who have openly challenged him to relinguish his post and allow for fresh elections.
“If I had my way, we need more people in our tent. (Job) Sikhala (MDC-T 99) must come back, (Welshman) Ncube (MDC-N) must come back and (Lovemore) Madhuku (National Constitutional Assembly) must forget about forming his small party and let’s have a bigger tent. Come so that we fight Zanu PF as one united party,” Tsvangirai pleaded.
Ncube and Sikhala broke ranks with Tsvangirai in the infamous 2005 MDC split and went on to form their own parties.
“God doesn’t destroy, God builds. If you do something wrong to your father and you are outside in the dark, he will call you inside the house. Don’t remain outside, come back to the others because you are a family member. If you stay outside, you will die of hunger and be a destitute,” he said.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Sikhala said he was open for negotiations if the MDC-T leader followed the proper channels.
“Tsvangirai knows my phone number. If he is serious, he should not grandstand at rallies, he should call me so that we can try to find common ground,” Sikhala said.
Madhuku said he would not comment on the issue because he had not been appraised by Tsvangirai himself. “I am coming from Masvingo right now. I am hearing it for the first time from you. I cannot comment on issues coming from journalists,” Madhuku said.
However, both Ncube and his MDC-N secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga were not reachable for comment.
Turning to alleged interference by diplomats, the MDC-T leader said: “Money is dangerous. It’s time for Zimbabweans to underwrite your own struggle and not rely on donors. If you are proud people, underwrite your own struggle. Contribute 50 cents or a dollar like you do in church. We have our friends out there.
We are surprised by people who say we want that one to lead the party. Is that the work of diplomats?
“We want to tell the diplomats that we are united as a party. What you can do is to help the people of Zimbabwe to have democratic change.”
“Another perception is that I want to die in office. Have mercy on me, if I want to die in office at my age, what about (90-year-old President Robert) Mugabe? We are a system of the constitution, if I serve, I know when I will give way to someone. What I don’t want is that before I give you power, you want to wrest it from me,” he said, describing such moves as dangerous.
“In the army, such action is considered a coup, in the corporate world it’s hostile takeover and in politics, the people must give you the positions. I don’t want to die in power, I want to rest at one point with my wife, going for holiday.
“We might move the congress to an earlier date to finish this, but it’s not an extraordinary congress. You first finish on the grassroots and then the national leadership later,” he said.
Tsvangirai has been at the helm of the MDC-T since its formation in 1999.