BULAWAYO - Former Magwegwe legislator Felix Magalela Mafa has come back into the fold, as MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai continues to beef up his arsenal amid an internal revolt that has characterised his party for over two months now.
Due to disgruntlement over the way primary elections were handled in the MDC, the outspoken Mafa opted to stand as an independent candidate.
Together with other malcontents, they formed Independent Candidates Coalition (ICC) and contested in last year’s general elections. Apparently the coalition had little road to run and the prospective party never lived to see the light of day.
“I have swallowed my pride, I have reconciled with myself and decided to work with the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai,” Mafa told the Daily News in an interview yesterday.
“He (Tsvangirai) has come to us and we agreed. It’s now official. As a result, we are now working together to unite people,” he said.
Mafa claimed that the renewal team which he said was led by Elton Mangoma had also approached him but “I told them to go to hell.”
“They did approach me but in this case, president Tsvangirai is on record as calling for all political parties and individuals who are like-minded to come and join him in the struggle for democracy, therefore, one who calls for unity prevails than one who calls for the opposite,” the fired up Mafa said.
He dismissed the team in the MDC calling for renewal as a bunch of sell-outs.
“The constitution should be followed. Let us go and have renewal at the congress not this ambush. Of course, no one is an angel but I should categorically state that those who are tired of this protracted struggle can as well retire.”
Mafa said the same people who are now calling for renewal were the ones who prompted many real party cadres to run as independent candidates in the last elections.
“The split in the party vindicates us as we knew that there were people who have always wanted to dethrone Tsvangirai. Our decision to form ICC was a statement that certain individuals in the party were not up to the standard and had sinister motives,” he said.
Mafa added that this was time for all cool-headed MDC members to forge a purposeful unity in the fight against a three-decade long Zanu PF hegemony.
The Daily News also understands that several former MDC members who stood as independent candidates in the last election have been approached and most of them have shown interest in re-joining the party.
Mafa described the MDC president as a fearless leader who has the qualities to lead this nation to Canaan.
“Tsvangirai is somebody known for his unrelenting character, he is a democrat, he is a fearless leader who has fought tirelessly for the freedom of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
As they say in politics, there are no permanent friends or foes, soon after the devastating election loss, Mafa is on record as having told Tsvangirai to step down, saying he must take responsibility for the party’s loss. Yesterday, he seemed to be reading from a different hymn book as he said: “Whatever the mistakes that they claim Tsvangirai did, they are equally to blame. Mangoma was also in the national standing committee and a cabinet minister for that matter”.
Commenting on the future of the MDC amid the on-going confusion in the party, Mafa remained optimistic.
“The party is growing from strength to strength and that’s no secret. In fact this is not new, it’s called political evolution. It has happened to Zanu PF and Zapu.”
He cited his return and that of other high ranking ex-members of MDC as a clear sign the party was headed for success.
“With this operation dzoka kumusha/khumbula ekhaya (return home) by the MDC, I can assure you democracy is soon to be restored,” he said.