MDC-T divisions widen over Biti’s electoral comments

Tendai Biti at Chatham House in 2013

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.

2 Responsesto “MDC-T divisions widen over Biti’s electoral comments”

  1. Wilbert Mukori says:

    The “message of (democratic) change of 2000 is not the message for now” says Biti. The truth is the message of democratic change is even more relevant today than it was in 2000. No there is nothing wrong with the message but everything wrong with the messengers tasked to deliver that democratic change – they have proven to be breathtakingly incompetent!

    Many people had viewed Biti as the natural successor to Morgan Tsvangirai whose breath-taking incompetence is now a matter of public record proved beyond any doubt. These people were giving Biti the benefit of the doubt that he tried but failed to stop Tsvangirai blundering from pillar to post. But his speech last Thursday should remove any lingering doubt that Biti is, in his right, a blundering and incompetent leader too.

    “I think that it is important as Zimbabweans that the democratic movement has a message,” Biti told his audience. “The message of NO to the big man has been exhausted. Let’s have a message, messages are key.”

    “Perhaps we were too sophisticated, but what was our message because the message of (democratic) change of 2000 is not the message for now.” What a load of nonsense!

    Zimbabweans are still suffering under the yoke of a corrupt and ruthlessly oppressive de facto one-party dictatorship. Mismanagement and corruption were bad in 2000, today they are even worse.

    The looting of the white owned farms that had just started has ended with Mugabe and his cronies owning most of the farms and the total collapse of the country’s once vibrant agricultural sector. This problem coupled with the country’s hyperinflation which soared to nauseating height of 500 billion in 2008 triggering the country’s economic melt-down. The country’s
    economy shrunk by a world breaking record of 84% in the six year period 2002 to 2008 pushing unemployment to break another world record of 90%.

    The economic melt-down had a devastating effect on the people; millions were force into abject power and many have since left the country in hopelessness and despair.

    The message of democratic change was born out of the need to end the criminal waste of the nation’s material resources caused by mismanagement and corruption and thus end the tragic human suffering the waste had caused. The democratic component came out of the realization that the only way to end the mismanagement was to reform the country’s oppressive dictatorship that denied the masses a meaningful say in the governance of the country.

    The people of Zimbabwe elected Biti and his fellow MDC friends on the understanding they would implement the democratic changes agreed in the GPA. Without the reforms; Mugabe would rig the elections as he had always done ever since Zanu PF got into power in 1980.

    Sadly MDC failed to get even one reform implemented and long behold Mugabe rigged the elections. The whole world saw the bussed in voters. Nearly a million voters were denied the right to vote because Mugabe, with the help of the Israeli company Nikuv, tampered with the voters roll. Mugabe has stubbornly refused to release the voters roll because he knows it is the smoking gun to the rigged elections.

    Mugabe blatantly rigged the July 2013 elections and there is a mountain of evidence to prove. One of the tasks of a truly democratic government in Zimbabwe will be to comply all the evidence of the 2013 rigged elections so that the history record is put right and those responsible to this treasonous act are held to account!

    “Zanu in the last election had a very simple message, bhora mugedhi,” Biti said. “Even a little woman in Chendambuya or Dotito just knew one thing, bhora mugedhi..

    “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.”

    This is an insult to the people of Zimbabwe; because none of them were naïve to believe Mugabe could deliver any mass economic prosperity when all he ever delivered was mass poverty. Zimbabwean are a hard- working people and they would accept a political solution that offers them an opportunity to earn an honest wage than Kasukuwere’s $5 000 pie in the sky.

    Morgan Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders accept that the July 2013 elections were rigged but have been careful to avoid mentioning that it was their failure to implement the reforms that mage it ease for Mugabe to rig the elections. Tendai Biti is taking this erroneous position one step further by pretending Mugabe had a “simpler message” that appealed to the Zimbabweans who no longer care about democratic change.

    The truth is the need for democratic change is more urgent than ever; there is nothing wrong with the message it is the incompetent messengers who are to blame. Having failed to deliver the changed they now blame the message!

    The ease with which Mugabe rigged the July 2013 elections underlines once again why it was folly to have held the elections without implementing the reforms. It would be madness to hold yet another election with no meaningful reforms.

    If the people of Zimbabwe are serious about free, fair and credible elections then they must insist that all the democratic reforms agreed in the GPA must be implemented.

    The nation now knows that Tendai Biti, Morgan Tsvangirai and any of the other MDC leaders will never get any of the reforms implement! They never saw the need to implement the back in 2009 and they still do not see the need today.

    • Peter Dindas says:

      Its now no longer a man -eat -dog but man-eat-man- society.
      Diaspora must now strive to salvage Zimbabwe and root-out the rot it’s a sorry state of affairs.

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