Tsvangirai embarks on mission to explain talks
By Tichaona Sibanda
8 October 2007
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is in the United States on the first leg of a two-nation tour of North America to appraise party supporters and pro-democracy groups on the progress made so far at the SADC led mediation talks.
Rocked by a backlash from its supporters and its partners from the civil society for supporting constitutional amendment bill number 18, the MDC leadership has been jolted into action to explain why it voted with Zanu-PF in Parliament a month ago.
Following a nervy and tense period that saw the MDC’s major allies labelling them ‘sell-outs’, the party was quick to issue an apology for not updating key stakeholders and its supporters on the mediation talks led by South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Elton Mangoma, the acting treasurer-general told civil leaders during an all stakeholders’ constitutional conference in Bulawayo last week that the opposition was gravely concerned by the shaky alliance that now existed between the MDC and civil society.
‘We accept the blunder that was made by the MDC on the Constitutional Amendment Bill and we therefore apologise for that,’ Mangoma said.
As a follow-up, the party dispatched its entire cabinet last week to meet with Mbeki’s mediation team and explain the need to either open up the talks, or alternatively give regular media briefings.
Hebson Makuvise, the MDC chief representative in the UK told Newsreel on Monday that Tsvangirai had several engagements in the United States and would fly to Canada for further consultations with both party activists and pro-democracy groups.
‘It is very important for the party to remain steadfast and focussed on the important job that lies ahead. Free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections are within the country’s grasp and we don’t want to be caught off guard. It is important therefore that Tsvangirai briefs all key stakeholders and this is the first of many trips planned,’ Makuvise said.