MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was this week forced to pick up the phone in order to tell his Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) counterpart, Joice Mujuru that her candidate in the Bikita-West by-election will not get his party’s support.
By Tatenda Chitagu
Mujuru revealed this on Thursday in her address to party supporters that Tsvangirai had personally delivered the news to her in a telephone conversation after weeks of what seemed like dithering and indecision.
ZimPF is represented in the by-election by Kudakwashe Gopo.
“Tsvangirai personally called me at night yesterday (Wednesday) to tell me that, as MDC-T, they are not backing anyone in the by-election. He, however, said there might be few officials in the party, who may be having interests, while the party top brass is unaware. He actually wished me well in this poll,” she said.
The MDC-T has also been rocked by internal squabbles amid reports its provincial structure had declared its support for an independent candidate, Innocent Muzvimbiri, instead of Gopo.
Reports also said Tsvangirai had found it expedient not to support Mujuru in order to gauge her support base and use the result of the poll, as a bargaining tool in coalition talks before general elections next year. But Mujuru told her supporters that contrary to media reports that claimed Tsvangirai had dumped her, the MDC-T leader had offered an apology, citing a busy schedule.
“I had forgotten to tell you that Tsvangirai said he could have been here with me, but he said he was busy and today his party is holding a national executive meeting,” she said.
On Thursday, Tsvangirai chaired a national standing committee meeting and was expected to begin a countrywide consultative tour on the coalition issue.
Last week, MDC-T Masvingo provincial chairman, James Gumbi, announced that the opposition party had decided to back Muzvimbiri, but the declaration was shot down by national spokesperson, Obert Gutu.
Gopo will face-off with Zanu PF’s Beauty Chabaya, National Constitutional Assembly’s Madock Chivasa, Tanyaradzwa Makumbo (Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe) and independent candidate, Heya Shoko.
Tsvangirai was expected to join Mujuru at the rally, but a faction of the opposition party opposed to a coalition with the former Vice-President seems to have prevailed on him.