MDCs cross swords

BULAWAYO - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry minister Welshman Ncube’s MDC have exchanged harsh words, blaming each other for the 2005 party split.

Economic adviser for the  Tsvangirai-led MDC and Bulawayo South MP, Eddie Cross blamed Ncube for the split, saying the party could still be united had it not been for the latter’s “self centredness”.

Addressing a public meeting here organised by Bulawayo Agenda on Thursday, Cross said it is no secret that Ncube personally caused the split of the MDC.

“Welshman Ncube was responsible for the split of united 2005. He was personally responsible for that and everyone knows about it,” Cross said, adding that no amount of denials by Ncube sympathisers will erase the “fact that he caused the split of the united MDC”.

Tsvangirai and Ncube are former allies who founded the MDC in 1999 with the former as president while Ncube was secretary general.

The vibrant party split in 2005 over strategy and the decision to participate in Senate elections held then.

Ncube, together with the late Gibson Sibanda, formed their own breakaway MDC outfit and invited Arthur Mutambara to lead their formation.

Joshua Mhambi, the Ncube -led MDC policy director, who was one of the panellists, dismissed Cross’s statements as a lie.

“We know who was responsible for the split. Tsvangirai knows very well who was responsible for the split and to say our president was responsible for that is completely wrong,” Mhambi said.

Tsvangirai last year described the acrimonious split of the MDC in 2005 as the “saddest part of his political life”. The premier, during the burial of Sibanda, said the split could have been avoided.

In the run-up to the 2008 poll, the two parties attempted to close ranks and back Tsvangirai as presidential candidate, but Ncube alleges the mainstream MDC kept on shifting goal posts until the talks collapsed.

Tsvangirai and Ncube have also been trading barbs, with Tsvangirai alleging Ncube was a “village politician” without national appeal.

The showdown has put a damper on prospects for the reunification of the two parties to mount a strong challenge against President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

Ncube has ruled out reunification with Tsvangirai.

“The things that divide us now make it impossible for us to work together,” he said.

“I have absolutely nothing against the person of Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Our differences are about our political behaviours and the things we do as politicians. I keep underlining, it is on record that our colleagues in the other MDC often practice violence; it is on record that Morgan Tsvangirai himself has reversed collectively made decisions and it is also on record that the local government structures that they control have acted as corruptly if not more corruptly than the
Zanu PF ones,” said Ncube.

The acrimony has worsened as officials in the smaller MDC have defected to Tsvangirai’s party in recent months.

Two weeks ago Ncube’s MDC fired three MPs on allegations of aligning themselves to the mainstream MDC.

In 2009 the party expelled Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) again for allegedly working with the mainstream MDC. - Pindai Dube

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