I am my own man: Mangoma

HARARE - Our Political Editor Thelma Chikwanha (TC) talks to Elton Mangoma (EM), the MDC deputy treasurer. Find below excerpts from the interview.

TC: Do you want to become the next president of the MDC because there have been allegations that you wrote this letter because you want to become president?

EM: I know the way to the presidency is not by writing letters it’s by being chosen by the people so if the people want to choose me I’m not going to say no but that is not the motive for the letter.

The motive of the letter is that it is my duty to give advice to the president, advice that I think will save the party, the people of Zimbabwe, advice that will save him and his legacy.

That is the motive  of the letter.

If I wanted I’d simply go to the structures to make sure they vote me in because the people who choose the president are the structures.

TC: Do you think that you have the social base to pull it off?

EM: For you to be voted in it means that you must have a social base. I have not gone canvassing for a social base so it will not be proper for me to talk as a person who has canvassed for it.

TC: Some say that you are being used and working with the party’s treasurer-general Roy Bennet  and Western donors to unseat Tsvangirai?

EM: If anybody knows me, they know that I am my own man, I don’t need to be used by anyone. I have never been used by anybody, my own history shows my own individual achievements so why would I now want to be used as a puppet of anyone.

I’ve got my own independent mind and thoughts and those are the ones I have expressed.

They want to discredit what I have said, but those who have known me know that I say such things and therefore they know that I have my own mind. In fact, I would like to see one person who will say that I speak for them.

If I speak for anyone else its really for the people of Zimbabwe who are suffering as a result of the political situation in the country, which is a thing I identified with when I went into the MDC to make sure that we fight to bring the necessary justice and progress — bring an end to the troubles of the people.

TC: Where did the $3 million that you are said to have offered Tsvangirai come from?

EM: First thing that we must try and correct is that there was $3 million offered by me.
That is not correct. No amount of money was ever offered and what I said is in my own letter to him and in that letter there is no mention of the $3 million and certainly its again somebody that has funded that figure.

I don’t know where he got it from and why it is being attributed to me because I don’t believe that anyone’s contribution can be weighed.

If we start by $3 million how about all those people who are suffering, how about people who have lost their lives?

So, to actually try to say he has been offered money to resign is to try and dilute the message that I am sending.

TC: I also want to find out how much money you allocated for the elections because some of your members who took part in the elections say you did not give them adequate funding for campaigning?

EM: Everybody in the standing committee knows how much we had and the allocation of what goes where, was not done by me, it was done by the total standing committee and for people to then single me out as if it was my individual purse it’s not correct.

The president knows exactly how much we got.

I cannot disclose how much it was but it is a matter of fact that we sat around and decided how much should go where and the allocations were done by everyone — how much goes to media, how much goes to t-shirts and how much goes to whatever.

So really, anybody who says anything I can actually forgive Charlton Hwende because he doesn’t sit in the standing committee.

Whatever he knows is what happened to him as a person.

So to use that as the mark of the organisation would actually not be proper.

You put in a figure of $120 000 in your newspaper, where did you get that figure, because it’s a complete fabrication unless if you guys are actually trying to throw it in yourself to fish and find out how much was used.

It was far more than $120 000 just do the maths. 210 MPs x $700 and I know that some MPs actually got more than the $700. He (Hwende) is lying. Do your maths.

The figure which you have put in for the t-shirts is wrong, it’s understated deliberately. These numbers have been put in to try and paint me as the wrong fella.

They are wrong numbers so you can’t start by throwing in wrong figures and judge me on things that are not there, things that are not factual.

You then must go down and say, what is the motive?

Ask those people who have given you those wrong figures “what is your motive?” Because someone is lying.

TC: Last year you were trying to push for an extraordinary congress for March this year, how far have you gone with this matter?

EM: Some members of the party were talking but the final say on whether we have an extra ordinary congress or not lies with the national council and the national council has not canvassed for it but I’m sure the next meeting of the national council will make a resolution on it.

TC: You have also been accused of trying to push the extra- ordinary congress to pull the rug under Tsvangirai’s feet?

EM: The person is not unseated by an individual, he is unseated by the people, so I don’t know. On one breath, you say he is very popular and on another breath, you say he can be unseated. So what are you saying?

If he has got that base then he must be the first man to actually say, let’s go back to the people so I actually can’t see what that allegation is about.

On Thursday  after I gave him the letter, there were four of us, myself, vice president(Thokozani) Khupe, secretary-general (Tendai) Biti and the president agreed to take it to the people and we all agreed amicably that the best way forward was to take it to the people.

TC:  So we might actually be seeing the congress this March?

EM: I can’t necessarily give you a date but we agreed to go to the people and I don’t see why now we are trying to substitute the people, and in the standing committee the issue of going to the people was agreed upon, it’s only a question of what time are we going for an extra ordinary congress or are we going for an early congress.

You cannot rule out that we can have a congress before 2016.

TC: Another allegation that has been levelled against you is that you are pulling tight, the party’s funds and are not releasing money for the party’s operations?

EM: I’m actually surprised because these are not my funds.

Any member in the standing committee has got full access, I  simply keep records and for someone to say I’m not releasing funds, its assuming that it is my private purse.

It is up to the standing committee to say this is priority and this is not priority. So I think it’s somebody, depending on who is putting that allegation, it could be somebody who doesn’t know how things work.

TC: But is the MDC really broke? Because we hear thatyour donors who used to support you when they believed you would form the next government are no longer as generous as they used to be?

EM: We retrenched, we failed to pay bonuses. At the moment we have low levels of funding and it has nothing to do with donors.

TC: How do you respond to the accusations that  in writing that letter, you betrayed Tsvangirai?

EM: If he is accusing me of betrayal by way of writing that letter, if his definition of betrayal is giving him advice, then I accept.

One has got to be able to say, is he also saying that I should not have an opinion? That I should I not be giving him advice?

I have given him advice before on a variety of issues and where I find that some of the advice I am giving is not being taken seriously, you will be the first ones to say are we advising him correctly or not.

I also put it on record that this is my advice to him as a person. The fact that it leaked is not my problem because the person who asked for that document to be duplicated and spread around is himself, not me.

So you can’t release a document that has been given to you and then turn around to say you have been betrayed.

If I had given that paper to you as a newspaper, then yes it would be a betrayal. But it is him and his colleagues who leaked the paper to the press.

TC: In your letter, you give a suggestion that Khupe takes over from Tsvangirai until such a time when the party goes to congress.

Do you believe that Khupe is the right person to be leading the MDC at this moment?

EM: First you have to look at it this way, she is the vice president of the party and constitutionally, she has the right to take over if Tsvangirai steps down.

Yes, I believe she can lead the party.

TC: Are you leading a faction?

EM: I don’t believe that I am leading a faction because I have never gone out to form a faction and I have not treated any member of the party any differently in the MDC.

I think they elected me as deputy treasurer-general.

I have discharged my job as honestly as I can.

I therefore do not have reason to be able to divide anybody in the party.

Certainly I do not know anybody in the party who is said to be in my faction because I am not doing factional politics, I’m doing this for the good of the party and for the good of the Zimbabwean people and to discharge my duties of advising my president.

Comments (19)

In your letter you raised some key points that the party really need to seriously look into. Unfortunately the MDC has allowed itself to play the politics patronage, boot-leaking and fanatic politics such that you will be labelled a sellout, yet you were simply exercising your democratic right, the fact that vainglorious juniors like that serial pedophile called Obert Gutu have the temerity to call you a misguided nincompoop is a clear sign of how the MDC plays the politics of victimisation of/to anyone who dares try to oppose or question let alone offer advice that seem to be out of sync with the status qou, you are fighting a good fight but unfortunately, YOU are done politically in the MDC, you are gone because the MDC is no better that ZANU PF

Ngwena - 29 January 2014

mr mangoma makuputsa chirongo masvika . i totally disagree with u its not the tym to change the face of the struggle u mr mangoma u lost yo seat in parliament so y bleming mt i cnt hesitate to tell u that u are nw dining and wining w the enemy form yo own party sir

marwa - 29 January 2014

Mangoma is dull.

Zvikiri - 29 January 2014

Mr Mangoma its too early to make those changes you mentioned. That party, to be honest with you is Tsvangison's party. If he goes , very few pple will vote for you. Its a game of numbers. he will be removed later not now. forget and smile.

chitundumuseremusere - 29 January 2014

Mr Mangoma in a democratically space you are free to say what you feel is right but my question to is that is it the right channel to publish this to the media before you have digested it with your supreme body. You are a man of high valued principles but here my dear you seem to sink so low covered with a jacket of greedness.Revisit your brains if you have lend them to someone. Come to your true senses and do away with that demonic views.

Chedumba - 29 January 2014

Tinozviziva Mangoma wakapromiswa neZANU PF licence yekucherawo mangoda kwaChiadzwa kana muchinge manyora tsamba iyo . Ungaita mari sei haifi yatonga nyika ko wadii kumirira 2016 patinoita congress rather kuda kungoita ruzha gwusina basa . So iwe naBiti mangamatoronga tsoro muchiti munobuda Bhobho manje mabondera 2016 hamuko . 2016 New Secretary General Mashakada , Treasury tichiri kutsvaka iwe nePuruvheya Roy Bennet hwava

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 29 January 2014

Mr Mangoma your letter wasnt bad actually it was the best piece of advice to your president. However the painful truth is that pple love Morgan ONLY and NOT the name MDC as you and your other comrades who want Tsvangie to go think. My advice to you is you are free to form your own party like Welshman bu stil you dont stand a chance naChematama...#sadtruth hey

cde numero - 29 January 2014

Mr Mangoma, Your letter seemed to specifically point MT as the cause of electoral defeat u suffered on 31 July. You are part of the top MDC leadership and you are to blame also. MT represents the only hope for Zim. musacheuka muridzo

SAPURENI - 29 January 2014

Struggle paichiri inotoda 'amadoda sibili' and I don't think Mangoma is one of them. Varume chaivo vari prepared kudashurwa nemiliia ye ZANU masquerading as ZRP.

Gwandove - 29 January 2014

Struggle paichiri inotoda 'amadoda sibili' and I don't think Mangoma is one of them. Varume chaivo vari prepared kudashurwa nemilitia ye ZANU masquerading as ZRP kwete masalads akaita sana Mangoma ajaira textbook politics. Mafikizolo! pamberi naTsvangison. Mangoma is history, politically!

Gwandove - 29 January 2014

VanaMangoma, wakambobva nepiko iwe? Kukutaurira chokwadi hauna door naTsvangirai, bvunza Prof Ncube anokuudza chokwadi, usafurirwa. Chero ukauya nemaDegree 100 uchiti ndakadzidza Tsvangirai haana kufunda unongodyiwa chete. MDC zvinoreva kuti Tsvangirai ndikunyevere muzheve dzako. Ungangosvotwa nezvandataura asi ndicho chokwadi. Chero Tvsangirai akanzi haana kudzidza, chero akanzi anevakadzi vakawanda, anongodiwa chete nevanhu.

studio77 - 29 January 2014

mangoma dai wambomira kuita dzungu rako iri tsvangirayi we stil nid him kusvika tatora nyika kana muine havi yekutonga va mangoma fomayi yenyu party tione mukabudirira haikona kusevenzeswa nezanu mhani iwe mangoma nxaaaaa

tototot - 29 January 2014

It's sad that we have become a nation of hero-worshippers. Tsvangirai was not anointed to become MDC leader. Tsvangirai was chosen simply because as ZCTU Secretary- General he was known to almost everyone due to the nature of his work and the skirmishes he had with law enforcement agents. Since then some people, including Biti and Mangoma, have also become public figures. Mangoma is a well-known registered public accountant in the mould of Eric Bloch. He has worked for such companies as Delta as finance manager where he distinguished himself. He later joined other organisations and even set up his own business ventures. Mangoma has in the past assisted the likes of Phillip Chiyangwa to establish business ventures. Elton is therefore free to throw his hat into the presidential ring given that Mr Tsvangirai has shown a lot of ineptitude and immorality.

Feldman Bandura - 29 January 2014

vamangoma ndimi makarasa vote musango mudzuri ndiye akatanga kubvisa pay yrkuzesa iwe ukatinyima mari yedu sakawaitarisirakuti mhuri dzevanhu veku ZESA vakuvhotere

motomoto - 29 January 2014

Vamwe vanhu hameno kuti hudofo here kana kuti, mangoma did not write thru the media but gave tsvangirai his letter, tsvangirai then leaked the letter TO PLAY THE VICTIM, so tht isu vanhu veZimbabwe timunzwire tsiti. Why shud this issue not go to congress, surely MDC is not ZANU PF, hapana anonzi ndiyemwari in a party, let people vote. IN ZIMBABWE PEOPLE ARE NOW FOND OF JUST BUT ONE LEADER, NXAAA MDC, u criticize ZANU yet burrow from their tactics. Shame on you.

Piece of Mind - 29 January 2014

Piece of Mind, Mangoma is dim-witted, a buffoon and sycophant! That best describes him!

Kufa - 29 January 2014

Iwe mukarangawemberengwa mazisadza ako!

GOdo - 29 January 2014

This is the utter condemnation of the Zimbabwean political landscape. Our politicians have never analysed any political problem objectively. Tsvangirayi is fighting for democracy not deification, then why are ideas thrown out windows before objective analysis? Unless he intends to be a perpetual leader, he should be open minded. We dont need fanaticism, we need democracy. It begins in a party then to a country. Mugabe killed democracy in Zanu first then came to Zimbabwe. Let us be careful. We love Tsvangirayi, we love the good work he has done but we expect him to be better than Mugabe and more be like Mandela. Let MT not make that "Mugabe" mistake of drinking too much from the cup of power and eventually fall off drunk, even derailing the people's cause...

Xaba Nxumalo - 30 January 2014

I support the Government of the day, asi zvemahumbwe handidi zvangu. Vanhu vanongoti vakarota votofunga kuti zvavarota ndizvo hatidi. We are talking about running a country and not kufudza mombe. Mangoma ngaafunge mushe please.

Kuraira - 30 January 2014

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