FISSURES in the embattled MDC-T continued to widen yesterday with party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and other senior party officials yesterday taking turns to condemn party secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti for endorsing Zanu-PF’s victory in the harmonised elections and for blaming the opposition’s loss on lack of feasible and marketable policies.
Conspicuous by their absence at the Mabvuku rally were Mr Biti and other officials calling for leadership change, among them suspended deputy treasurer-general Mr Elton Mangoma, national executive member Engineer Elias Mudzuri, youth assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore and youth assembly secretary-general Promise Mkwananzi did not attend the rally.
Mr Biti on Friday broke ranks with the MDC-T’s position of claiming the harmonised elections were “stolen” admitting they lost squarely to Zanu-PF because of the party’s superior policies.
Addressing his party’s supporters in Mabvuku yesterday, Mr Tsvangirai said they should ignore Mr Biti and insist the elections were rigged.
MDC-T deputy national chairman Mr Morgan Komichi, who was convicted of electoral fraud, also said it pained him to hear senior party officials admitting defeat.
Some party supporters called for Mr Biti’s resignation.
Mr Biti told reporters last Friday that Zanu-PF won the elections on the strength of its clear message that appealed to the people while MDC-T was being sophisticated for nothing.
“Zanu in the last election had a very simple message, bhora mugedhi,” said Mr Biti.
“Even a little woman in Chendambuya or Dotito just knew one thing, bhora mugedhi. Perhaps we were too sophisticated, but what was our message – because the message of change of 2000 is not the message for now.”
Without substantiating his remarks, Mr Tsvangirai said it was public knowledge that Zanu-PF rigged the elections.
“Hatiregeri kutaura nyaya yekuti (President) Mugabe wakabira and we do not apologise,” Mr Tsvangirai charged.
“Let those who have doubts about a stolen election stay the way they are. But hapana asingazvizivi kana mbuya vari kumusha uko kuChiredzi kana kuMuzarabani kana kuTsholostsho vanozviziva kuti Zanu-PF haina kuhwina kuno and you doubt that.”
Mr Komichi chipped in saying, “Kwedu kwatinonamata unoreurura kana une chigumbu otherwise munamato wako haungasviki kudenga. Ndakarwadziwa zvikuru nemazwi anoti election haina kurigwa ini ndakapedza 100 days ndiri muChikurubi ndakasungirwa election…
“Zvinondirwadza kunzwa mazwi akadaro achibuda kubva kumukuru weMDC.”
MDC-T deputy youth leader Mr Costa Machingauta went as far as accusing Mr Biti of working with Zanu-PF.
“And hazvizonakidzi kuona umwe munhu, mutana mukuru achibuda achiti hatina kurigwa iye achiziva kuti takarigwa. It means you were part and parcel of those people vaironga kurigger,” he said.
However in his remarks, Mr Biti said Zanu-PF was organised and sold a practical message to the electorate.
“We were selling hopes and dreams when Zanu-PF was selling practical realities. We (Zanu PF) are going to give you a farm, it’s there. We are going to give you $5 000 through (Saviour) Kasukuwere’s ministry,” said Mr Biti.
Although it was apparent that MDC-T is facing another split, Mr Tsvangirai wore a brave face claiming that there was unity in the party.
He mocked those who preached the gospel of democracy in MDC-T and calling for leadership renewal saying they were approaching the issue with dirty hands.
“Zvino dai muri vanhu vanoziva – munhu unomirira congress woti ndinodawo,” he said.
“Zvinorambidzwa here izvozvo? Zvino woti ibvapo ndiende inini. Idemocracy yekupi iyoyo? Iyo democracy yamunoda kubatira pamusoro iyi. Munoiziva?”
Mr Tsvangirai, who while smarting from election drubbing claimed his party had adopted a hands-off approach to government through its so-called ‘tongai tione’ slogan, also appealed to Zanu-PF to co-opt him and other parties into Government.
He said the problems facing the country required a collective effort by all Zimbabweans across the political divide.
The rally was also attended by the party’s deputy president Thokozani Khupe and a few standing committee members.
Addressing a rally at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza on Saturday Mr Tsvangirai told rivals pushing for his ouster that they were free to quit the party if they no longer wanted to continue working with him.