By Kelvin Mupungu
Tsvangirai side responds to Biti’s move
In a telephone conversation, MDC-T National Spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora with NewsAfrica, claimed that today’s move by group aligned with Biti was a ,”none event and not properly constituted”
Mr Mwonzora promised that there will be a press conference tomorrow at 13:00 pm at party headquarters to announce the way forward. This also will be a show of who is actually in control of MDC-T compared with the rebels whose press conference was 15 km away from party headquarters.
The suspension is null and void because Biti does not have the power to suspend anybody from the party. The meeting was not attended by 136 of the 178 National Council members as claimed. Biti faction is alleged to have shipped in some youth from Chitungwiza to masquerade as National Council members.
Mr Mwonzora also claimed that there were only two members of the 12 National Standing Committee members. According to him it is this committee which has the power to suspend any members.
Members loyal to MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube also attended the party to make up numbers . Mwonzora argues that on that basis the meeting was improperly constituted.
Reports have been circulating that Biti has been courting Welshman Ncube so that they can set up a united front against Tsvangirai. Welshman Ncube could not confirm attendance of his representatives to this meeting.
When asked what MDC-T was going to do in response, Mr Mwonzora quipped saying that in the press conference tomorrow, Tsvangirai will not suspend anybody in a press conference like what Biti has done.
It is possible that Tsvangirai will now call for an early congress to elect new members to hold positions.
There is no doubt that the move by Biti has dented Tsvangirai’s character but the former Zimbabwean Prime Minister has been there before. In 2005 Welshman Ncube, then Secretary General suspended Tsvangirai from the party over dispute as to whether the party should participate in Senate elections or not. Many thought Tsvangirai was finished but he shocked the world by beating Mugabe in national elections three years later. In the rerun, Tsvangirai withdrew to save his supporters from hell following a violent campaign by Zanu PF.
Although Biti appears popular within the structures, there is no doubt that Tsvangirai is more popular with grassroots to equal measures with Mugabe in Zanu PF. Following moves by Biti through Elton Mangoma‘s famous letter calling for Tsvangirai to resign, the former trade unionist went on a nationwide campaign canvassing support and castigating Biti as being sponsored by Mugabe. The attendances have been as usual very high. Biti a lawyer by profession has been accused of being too elitist and looks down upon the less educated.
Mugabe has always labelled Tsvangirai as western sponsored , a stigma which has always made it hard for MDC-T to convince rural population to dump Mugabe. Under the same circumstances Biti will struggle to shake off the stigma that Mugabe is bankrolling him. Mugabe has already blessed Biti for standing against Tsvangirai, a rarity for him to praise opposition leaders. State broadcaster ZBC has also been awarding generous airtime to Biti compared to Tsvangirai. Mugabe uses media to spread propaganda against Tsvangirai and opposition leaders.
Only time will tell but everything being equal, it is goof for democracy for Zimbabwe to have a new political front and Tsvangirai will be stronger for 2018 according to Mwonzora