By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
14 May 2014
The MDC-T faction calling itself the renewal team has said it is not concerned with the huge attendances of people at rallies addresssed by Morgan Tsvangirai, dismissing them as ‘rallies to nowhere.’
Jacob Mafume, spokesman for the Tendai Biti led faction described the gatherings as ‘rally tourism’ where people attend for praise and worship sessions.
The lawyer/politician told SW Radio Africa’s weekly Speak Out Padare program on Tuesday that numbers ‘don’t matter’, but what is important is offering solutions to the Zimbabwe crisis.
Mafume said even with the small number of MPs they have on their side, the renewal team will be able to contribute meaningful debate in Parliament. Since the split in the MDC-T in April, nine MPs joined the Biti faction while the Tsvangirai camp still has support from 82 legislators.
The MDC-T leader has in the past few weeks held several rallies that have seen thousands of party supporters attending each of them, compared to those addressed by the Biti camp.
“These rallies will not achieve (anything). They are rallies to nowhere and its not a cause for concern to us. Rally tourism will not achieve much, the country needs a sober approach to deal with the politics of today,” Mafume said.
He added: “In 2013, we held over a hundred with our President (Tsvangirai), compared to the ten held by President Robert Mugabe. And where are we now…we are just a ceremonial opposition.”
Mafume said the myth that rallies will produce a new Zimbabwe has been debunked over time, insisting that the more people indulge on the subject, the more they will get lost.
However MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora, came out all guns blazing in response to Mafume’s comments on their rallies. He said Mafume was prone to criticizing everything for every reason.
“The fact that people are thronging to our rallies means the message is resonating with our grassroots. We are holding these rallies to cement with the grassroots and to connect with the same people…it is very important to do this because they’re the same people we represent at the MDC-T,” said Mwonzora
He took a dig at the renewal’s team’s failure to attract crowds at their rallies, emphasizing that they will always struggle to do as they are ‘elitist’ and have no appeal to the masses.
“The so-called renewal team held a rally of 52 people in Manicaland recently. Of these 52, twelve were drivers who had come with Tendai Biti’s entourage, leaving 40 people. Of those 40, about 10 were members of the security and of the remaining 30, 17 were people who had travelled with Biti from Harare. This leaves 13 locals who attended the meeting,” explained Mwonzora.