CHAOS marred MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s visit to Mutare on Saturday when some party members turned rowdy after they were barred from attending a provincial council meeting he chaired.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The commotion happened just before Tsvangirai addressed a campaign rally at Dangamvura Beit Hall.
The party’s security staff fought running battles with some senior party officials who demanded to be allowed into the meeting where they allegedly wanted to brief Tsvangirai on some of the problems affecting the opposition party’s programmes in the province.
Former MP Mathius Mlambo and Florence Buka were among party members who were barred from meeting Tsvangirai following their alleged fallout with the David Chimhini-led provincial leadership.
“We were not allowed into the provincial council meeting as they said they did not recognise us, but we also do not recognise them. We have members from Chipinge, Makoni Central district, Dangamvura and Chikanga district who were not allowed to gain entry into the meeting,” an MDC-T member who declined to be named said.
However, MDC-T Manicaland spokesperson Trevor Saruwaka said the group comprised “rogue elements” bent of tarnishing the party’s image.
“After the provincial congress we held at Mutare Beit Hall in October last year, we still have few districts that did not accept the outcome of the congress, particularly Chipinge and Makoni Central, as they did not have structures at that time,” he said.
“Even at the national congress, only those who were elected in 2011 were allowed to participate as they did not have executives. We had a new executive that was elected in February this year in the province led by Chimhini, but some of them are not being recognised by some disgruntled members,’’ he said.
Tsvangirai ordered the warring factions to bury their differences and work as a team.
“I am not happy with the divisions in the province and Mutare City Council, I heard that MDC-T councillors you don’t caucus before going to council. Starting today, you should have unity of purpose. And I heard that there are people who are not recognising provincial structures, they should go,” he said.
“We are not going to have another provincial congress. We are not going to continue having congresses because the objective at the moment is to change things in the country and let’s recognise the current executive in the province,” he said.
Tsvangirai also implored party supporters in the Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency to boycott the June 10 by-election as per the opposition party’s congress resolutions.
‘’There is no party which is as popular in Zimbabwe as the MDC-T, but the reason why we cannot transform popularity into power is that (President Robert) Mugabe is an expert at rigging elections. So we are not going to participate in any elections until there are reforms. So those in the Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency, don’t even attempt to vote for any other candidate.”