MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday denied accusations by Zanu PF legislators linking him to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s controversial $1,35 billion debt.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka described as “preposterous and defamatory” claims by Marondera East MP Jeremiah Chiwetu (Zanu PF) that the MDC leader received $3 million from RBZ to buy his Highlands mansion.
“This is a desperate attempt to equalise the doyen of the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe with those who benefited from the quasi-fiscal activities of the RBZ that included the provision of tractors, scotch-carts and farming inputs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai’s continued stay in the government house allocated to him during his tenure as Prime Minister has caused serious divisions within the main opposition party with some party members saying he should vacate the mansion as it was compromising his integrity.
This comes as Zanu PF legislators are pushing for Tsvangirai to pay back the $1,5 million he got from RBZ to acquire the house, located at number 49 Kew Drive in Highlands, Harare.
Several MDC-T supporters yesterday said Zanu PF hawks were capitalising on Tsvangirai’s continued stay at the mansion to attack the opposition and accuse its leaders of corruption.
“We have to raise it with him to move to another house. Zanu PF is using that as a weapon to fight him politically and we have to make him see the effects of his continued stay there. Our mission and objective is to fight and win against Zanu PF and in the process, we have to see that he is as clean as possible,” said a senior MDC-T official who declined to be named.
“It is compromising him and we can’t afford to give Zanu PF ammunition to divert us from our objective. He has to move out,” said the official.
But MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu challenged party members calling for Tsvangirai to vacate the house to stop speaking in “hushed tones” insisting his stay in Highlands was transparent.
“It is above board. Some people want to inflict damage where it’s not due. It was purchased because (President Robert) Mugabe refused to let Tsvangirai use the other State House. He is in that house not out of Mugabe’s benevolence. He was entitled to that,” Gutu said. “That is a State property and it’s not registered in his name because ownership is not finalised. He used his own money $400 000 as a deposit before government paid a top-up amount. He is saying we can’t have the issue hanging and it’s not only him, but other former ministers and deputy ministers who have issues that have to be finalised,” he said.
Gutu added: “If there are people who are saying that, they should come forward, it doesn’t help to have a party member who goes to speak in hushed tones. This is what we expect as democrats.”