Biti back home

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday buried the hatchet with his party secretary-general Tendai Biti, quashing speculation that the 15-year-old movement was headed for another split.

Tsvangirai addressed a news conference at Harvest House, the party’s headquarters, for the first time this year, with Biti and Elias Mudzuri in attendance. But deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma was conspicuously absent.

Tsvangirai said Mangoma was not at the presser because “the national council, the party’s supreme decision-making body outside Congress, had suspended him pending his appearance before an independent disciplinary tribunal. He is still very much one of us and he is innocent until proven guilty.”

Amid speculation that the labour-backed movement was plunging into turmoil following the controversial suspension of  Mangoma which Biti had described as “voidable”, Tsvangirai said the national focus had been diverted by “robust debate” in the MDC.

Tsvangirai, who described as “significant” the coming together of the “warring” parties, said a meeting of the Standing Committee held last Friday pulled back the party from the brink.

“On Friday last week we met as elected officers of the party, the national standing committee. The meeting was long; it was honest and frank discussions on developments in the party and in the country (took place),” Tsvangirai said.

“After a frank heart-to-heart session, we all unanimously agreed that our disagreements in the cockpit, while confirming our credentials as a democratic party, had needlessly diverted attention from the key issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe.

“But we had realised that it was important for us to sit down as a party leadership to openly discuss and sort out our issues. I am proud to announce today that we have discussed our issues and there is now unprecedented harmony and unity of purpose in the MDC cockpit.”

Biti did not address the press briefing.

The MDC leader said contrary to some reports which paint him as a dictator, he said there was no other party in Zimbabwe which was tolerant to criticism of the party leadership like his.

“In those five hours of frank and no-holds-barred discussion, we saved this party. What is important is that there has to be stability in the party and there has to be discipline in the party. We want everyone to follow the line,” Tsvangirai said.

In the midst of the internecine infighting, opportunists had sprung up and had been nicodemously plotting the ouster of provincial chairpersons agitating for leadership renewal. But the former trade unionist warned against making hasty decisions.

He dismissed as “false” the purported suspension of the Harare provincial leadership led by Paul Madzore. He invited all MDC comrades to “remobilise and confront the dictatorship.”

“While disagreements are necessary in a democracy, they must be resolved and we have just resolved our differences,” Tsvangirai said. “I want to acknowledge the fact that no one is guilty until proven guilty by the right forum, so everyone is innocent. At the end of the day, we are a team. We will swim or sink together. We have created a big tent for everyone and I can assure you here that no one inside is going outside, this party is not splitting.”

Citing mounting economic challenges that have seen company closures and government failing to pay its workers, Tsvangirai said it was critical for the party leadership to resolve their problems amicably in order to pile pressure on the ruling party to fulfill its mandate.

The MDC leader, who has been holding rallies around the country, said the party “cannot afford this diversion.” He advised his grassroots supporters, who have been baying for Biti’s blood, to toe the line and desist from violence.

“What do our people out there expect of this great movement which they have invested in so much and which to them is their only lifeline to hope and prosperity? They expect leadership unity which is not negotiable,” Tsvangirai said.

“This party is not in turmoil, this party will resolve itself. As we move forward, when we go out there, the people want to hear one thing, when is our suffering going to end. That day is going to come in our lifetime.”

Elias Mudzuri, the former organising secretary of the movement, who has been a rabid critic of Tsvangirai, told the Daily News after the press conference that he felt secure enough to attend the meeting.In a show of unity, Tsvangirai was flanked by Biti, deputy president Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo and other senior party officials including Mudzuri.

Comments (20)

I wonder if this means they have resolved the issues or if they have been cowed by Tsvangirayi to tow the line... Either way I doubt this is the end of this saga.

wezhira wezhara - 26 March 2014

Apa wasvotwa nei nhaiwe wezhira. regedza anu awirirane.

Sir Jephy - 26 March 2014

Pamberi nekubatana, nekuti kubatana kunesimba .

Murewa - 26 March 2014

This is what we call democracy at work- they should never followt the example of ZanuPF which murders anyone who dares to talk of Mugabe's retirement. Despite his few shortcomings, I will vote and support Morgan because he does not have blood on his hands.

Mukanya - 26 March 2014

"Mugabe must go" also known as dzikamai mavhaire arimo mu cabinet wani, asi akati bob ngaashamule

Harare - 26 March 2014

Thank you for coming back Mr Biti and to the President as well, please extend the same long warm arm to Ian Kay , Mangoma and Bennetand all the others as well.

Dr Know - 26 March 2014

No one is perfect but Tsvangirai must be perfect. So many great politicians & our ministers are poligamists or divorcees BUT not Tsvangirai. We will support Tsvangirai to the hilt.YES UNITY IS POWER.

JURUJAI - 26 March 2014

Let's wait and see! CIO tumirei more fire!

Jambanja paSalisbury - 26 March 2014

What was the nature of their differences and how have they resolved those differences? There is no information in the press conference to answer the above questions. otherwise its a PR stint stage managed by their financiers to save face. But they cannot cheat democracy.

alexio - 26 March 2014

Ndozvatinogwarira kaizvo kuti vanhu vaite mondo ndiko kuti tipinde 2018 tirinjanji . Hezvoko 2018 Touyako ZANU pf yoita nhetemwa

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 26 March 2014

Unity the gospel that makes peace-haters angry

Jamaican - 26 March 2014

At long last sanity and good have prevailed over evil. The party leadership should keep their eyes on the ball .2018 is not very far and ZANUPF already has started showing its true colours civil servants are wallowing in abject poverty yet nothing has been done to the salarygate culprits. MDC should take advantage of this and emancipate us from the shackles of bondage.

aluta continua - 27 March 2014

that is good that he has returned but want we don't know is whether he is still committed ,therefore he is a suspect.we can nolonger trust him better he go back were he was.

thomas - 27 March 2014

biti imbavha saka akafunga kuda kuparada part hatimude,better aende

chigutiro - 27 March 2014

The body language says it all, Wannanchi looking like a mukuwasha! Something is amiss

Don Wezhira - 27 March 2014

MDC is a party of the people and in unity there is power. ZANU PF celebrates especialy when people like Biti say they want to form their own party.Biti has the power when he is in the original MDC, so to think otherwise that will be his demise.Ncube did that where is he today? He is in the doldrums so Biti and Mangoma should learn from Ncubes failures and his group.MDC is the only party that has defeated ZAN PF so they work day and night to dislodge it. Musatengwa nemari MDC yakabatana ichazadzisa chirongwa chekubvisa Zimbabwe muuranda hweZANU PF . Pamberi nekubatana pamberi nava Tsvangirayi

MWANA WEVHU - 28 March 2014

he is surely back home

sikh - 30 March 2014

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the mdc is mis firing because instead of lookin at the problems zanu pf have beacause of failure to change the system they continue to do the same every system needs renewal nt that those in place would have failed bt jus confirming the existance of democracy in their party.........................

the patriot - 31 March 2014

Pliz MDC-T next time stop to impose candidates, in Hwange urban you impose to us Brian Tshuma he does not know the people. He cant give you a lift, he think his car is for compaigners or those close to him pliz teach him and he think Empumalanga is the only place where he get the votes. He does not respect the people who voted him. He is in office because of Tsvangirai otherwise Reeds Dube is the best, though he belong to the wrong party ZANU. He really help the community at large. Next time do something on that Brian issue. Plus alot of tribal remarks, some of these Nambya guys they think is their right to be the one voted in office in Hwange. They are against the shonas to be specific, do something. Other whole lot should go including provincial chairman.

basviri - 2 April 2014

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