By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
10 March 2014
Divisions within the MDC-T further widened this weekend, following comments by the Secretary General Tendai Biti suggesting that their 2013 electoral loss was because ZANU PF had a better message which resonated with the electorate.
The comments were made at a policy dialogue for the SAPES Trust on Thursday, and at least ten minutes of his speech was aired on the ZANU PF controlled ZBC-TV, drawing further criticism.
“ZANU in the last election had a very simple message, bhora mugedhi, even a little woman in Chendambuya or Dotito just knew one thing, bhora mugedhi,” Biti is quoted as saying, adding that the MDC-T’s message was “perhaps too sophisticated”.
This contradicts Biti’s original allegations after the elections, when he insisted there had been massive rigging by ZANU PF. He also helped to produce the MDC-T’s dossier on the elections and was very vocal about electoral fraud that had taken place countrywide.
Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai was quick to attack Biti, telling supporters at a rally in Mabvuku on Sunday that the elections were rigged and Biti’s comments should be ignored. The MDC-T deputy national chairman, Morgan Komichi, who spent 100 days in jail after reporting electoral fraud, said the comments were painful.
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri said the MDC-T has lost its focus and are failing to address the real bread and butter issues that Zimbabweans are faced with. He added that their internal differences could have been talked over and resolved with a degree of patience.
“We would have expected the leadership of the MDC-T to be touring the country’s disturbed and troubled regions. We have images of the people in Tokwe Mukosi sheltering under trees when their tents were washed away. These are the same people they are asking to vote for them,” Mashiri explained.
He pointed to urban areas where ratepayers are being deprived of basic services such as waste removal, water and electricity. At the hospitals people are being turned away because there are inadequate supplies of staff and medication.
“The MDC-T needs to be addressing these issues which we read about day by day. Sadly they are only at each other’s throats and again it’s because they have lost focus,” Mashiri added, saying that ZANU PF had seized the media opportunity to focus on the infighting, using ZBC.
Biti would not be drawn into answering questions when reached by SW Radio Africa on Monday, saying he was attending important meetings.
The MDC-T secretary general did not attend the Sunday rally, along with suspended deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma, national executive member Engineer Elias Mudzuri, youth assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore and youth assembly secretary-general Promise Mkwananzi.
All five have been linked to calls for new leadership in the party and Mangoma is soon to face an independent disciplinary committee, following recommendations by the National Executive Council which suspended him.
“The puppet is gone, now we go for the puppeteer,” MDC-T’s Harare province spokesperson, Obert Gutu, wrote on his Facebook page on Friday, following the party decision to suspend Mangoma.
According to the Daily News newspaper, senior aides to party President Morgan Tsvangirai were “beside themselves”, anonymously blasting Biti for praising their political rivals, ZANU PF.
Some observers have said these divisions are likely to lead to another split within the MDC-T, leaving ZANU PF to gain as Zimbabweans continue to suffer under the Mugabe regime.