WARRING MDC-T factions are trading accusations of looting and misappropriation of funds with the belligerents throwing mud at each other as the battle for control of the party escalates, NewsDay has learnt.
The axed secretary-general Tendai Biti-led MDC-Team yesterday cautioned embattled party leader and ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai against making “inflammatory and unsubstantiated allegations” against them or else he would be “exposed”.
This followed Tsvangirai’s address to party supporters at a rally in Epworth on Sunday that he would seek an explanation from axed deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma over party finances, hinting that some money could have been stolen.
But MDC-Team said Tsvangirai must stop throwing stones because he lived in a glass house as they were holding onto “very sensitive evidence of financial impropriety” which, if made public, could cause irreparable damage to him.
MDC-Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume said Tsvangirai should be the last person to raise such allegations.
“On money issues, I believe he doesn’t want to go down. The deputy treasurer is trying to hold back, but if he [Tsvangirai] wants to throw brickbats, he will realise that Mangoma’s hands are clean,” Mafume said.
“It is in the public domain that he [Tsvangirai] was given money by [former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon] Gono during the inclusive government and that even the [Highlands] house he is staying in now has issues.”
Mafume added: “People had settled for an amicable divorce and not to throw each other in the mud, but we will wait for him and if he does that, it will boomerang. He must stop making malicious allegations. If he doesn’t show restraint, he must know those in glass houses should not throw stones.”
But Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said Mangoma and his team had failed in previous meetings to prove their allegations on money issues and dared them to speak out if they had anything.
He maintained that his boss had nothing to hide.
“We don’t respond to threats that have been unsubstantiated in previous meetings. They have formed their own party and will soon find a name for it and will have a symbol. The issue is we can’t respond to threats which they have failed to prove previously,” Tamborinyoka said.
“There was no marriage to talk about in the first place, politics is a voluntary issue and you can’t talk of divorce where there was no marriage.”
At the onset of the MDC-T fights in February this year, Mangoma wrote a letter to Tsvangirai accusing him of abusing party funds.
“How will we put closure to the question of misuse of funds, and ensure that our friends regain confidence that donations will be channelled to the people’s project going forward?” Mangoma said.
“How will you answer the questions that we failed to care enough for our people and that we used our time in government for personal aggrandisement, personal wealth accumulation as symbolised by the current impasse on [Tsvangirai’s] Highlands residence?”
Mafume also refuted weekend accusations by MDC-T deputy national chairman Morgen Komichi that Biti had refused to award salary increases to civil servants when he was Finance minister.
Meanwhile, political analysts said the ongoing public spat among MDC-T officials was ill-timed and posed a serious threat to the democratic dispensation that the electorate was yearning for.
Analyst Alexander Rusero said: “Zanu PF is at its weakest and boiling point. As long as there is no alternative, Zanu PF remains safe. A united MDC is stronger and an alternative. No group will remain stronger in this fight, the other will diminish like others have done and the other will be weaker. This is not healthy for democracy.”