HomeLocal NewsTsvangirai berates anti-coalition lieutenants

Tsvangirai berates anti-coalition lieutenants

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MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has cracked the whip on lieutenants who have reportedly been using social media to “undermine” the party’s position regarding a proposed coalition with other democratic forces.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Tsvangirai late last year announced his party would begin talks for a coalition, but threw in stringent conditions that could rule out many fringe opposition groups seen as existing in “name only”.

It is understood the MDC-T leader is reportedly courting Zimbabwe People First leader Joice Mujuru and MDC’s Welshman Ncube for a possible grand coalition against President Robert Mugabe in next year’s presidential election.

However, some of Tsvangirai’s lieutenants are reportedly sceptical about Mujuru’s commitment to opposition politics, arguing “she is a disgruntled Zanu PF member willing to return to the ruling party if Mugabe goes”.
Mujuru has also warmed up to the idea of joining hands with Tsvangirai ahead of the 2018 elections.

But it has emerged that internal opposition to the resolution by the MDC-T’s national council after consultations in the national standing committee and national executive was growing with each passing day.

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora was last week forced to respond to the growing social media debate over the issue.

Mwonzora yesterday confirmed Tsvangirai had to whip his forces into line.

“It is true and indeed has come to our attention that some leaders have taken to using social media to shoot down the national council’s resolution. The point is these leaders were part of the national standing committee, the national executive and national council discussions that mandated the president of the party to begin negotiations for a possible coalition,” Mwonzora said.

“We cannot, therefore, allow a situation where people turn against a decision of the majority. The MDC-T is a majoritarian party where the decisions of the majority take precedence and leaders have a duty to respect that even when they initially were against such decisions.”

Asked if this was a gag order against senior members of the party discussing policy decisions on social media, Mwonzora said: “No, absolutely not! But, we are saying leaders have an obligation to use whatever platforms including, social media, to explain policy decisions like the one on coalition. I am just regurgitating what the president (Tsvangirai) said at the national council meeting.”

Mwonzora said Tsvangirai had asked that the MDC-T senior leaders needed to put national interests first.

“Tsvangirai is a statesman who wants to build a better Zimbabwe. He reiterated that senior leaders should not be blinded by personal ambition ahead of national and party interests. The president urged us not to be worrying about what positions we will likely hold in the event of a coalition, but the extent of benefit to the country, especially in relation to the democratic struggle to dislodge the Zanu PF dictatorship,” the MDC-T secretary-general said.

“We need to subordinate individual ambition to the supreme national cause for a free and democratic country. That is what our president wants.”

Mwonzora also defended the MDC-T move to set coalition conditions.

“The MDC-T wants to negotiate with serious parties that will make a difference. Remember, Simba Makoni (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader)’s 8% in 2008 that denied us ultimate victory. There are parties that have the capacity to better that and we are willing to talk to those.

“We can never have a coalition with 40 parties otherwise we will have a Cabinet of presidents which is untenable. The MDC-T also looked at compatibility and we are less likely going to negotiate with abusive people or those who have made negative pronouncements about our party and its leadership,” Mwonzora said.

He added that other parties with no “significant following” were free to join the coalition, “but not as members”.

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