Zinasu torn between Tsvangirai, Biti

HARARE - Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) is, like other civil society groups, caught between Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti.

Zinasu president Gilbert Mutubuki, has gone along with Biti after the MDC split, but at the same time his colleagues feel the historical pull of Tsvangirai’s long association with Zinasu and continue to back the former premier.

“Morgan Tsvangirai can no longer inspire,” the Zinasu president said in his June 16 Day of the African Child statement.

“Zinasu worked tirelessly for the MDC to win the 2008 harmonised elections. However, Morgan Tsvangirai failed to grab power and later entered into the government of national unity (GNU), where he was more of a ceremonial Prime Minister than a leader.

“During the GNU, Morgan Tsvangirai worked hard to divide the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the student movement (Zinasu) by taking sides in the labour and student movements’ disputes.

“The ceremonial prime minister began chasing city ladies like a post-puberty boy instead of fighting the democratic struggle. This drove the MDC to contest in July 31, 2013 elections without the necessary reforms which were proposed before the formation of the GNU in 2009.”

The students body has long touted itself as an independent pro-democracy institution, yet which feels close to Tsvangirai.

The statement by Mutubuki aligning the students body to Biti’s renewal team, has been repudiated by Tererai Obey Sithole, Zinasu secretary-general. This was after Biti’s renewal team claimed that it had upstaged Tsvangirai by earning the support of Zinasu.

Sithole, believed to be aligned to the Tsvangirai group, says Zinasu is not affiliated to any political party.

“We are a non-partisan body which furthers the students’ interests,” Sithole said.

“So whatever the MDC renewal is saying is not correct in any way because we do not relate in any way.”

Tension among students has escalated because of the MDC stand-off, with many students feeling the pressure to choose between Tsvangirai and Biti.

Zinasu is now facing its sternest test of loyalty to the MDC since helping form the party in 1999. The students’ body is wavering, even though it risks internal contradictions and a domestic backlash by opposing Tsvangirai.

The dilemma for Zinasu is Mutubuki’s attempt to withdraw their unofficial support from Tsvangirai.

Zinasu is more vulnerable to the political fallout within the MDC compared to other civil society groups because of its historical links with the MDC. Many civil society groups are torn between keeping ties with Tsvangirai but others view Biti’s renewal project as a credible alternative.

Tsvangirai’s MDC sees Zinasu as a friend. When its historical ties are taken together, it is probably the civil group closest to Tsvangirai.

Things have gone bad that the Zinasu leadership recently clashed in angry scenes in front of journalists, accusing each other of belonging to different factions of the MDC.

Rival Zinasu factions said the pro-Biti June 16 statement prepared for the press was politically-sponsored.

During the brawl, Zinasu spokesperson Avoid Masiraha tried to force Mutubuki to read the June 16 speech and see if it had traction with the membership, but he refused.

“As African children, we cannot act like this,” Mutubuki protested. “As the (Zinasu) president, I have the right to address the press conference to push for our interests, but what I see now is that most of the people in here are not students, but intruders. They are politicians and some are being used by politicians to drive wrong interests.”

Masiraha said the union was now confused over the MDC political dispute.

“He (Mutubuki) wants to put it as if we all belong to the ‘renewal party’, which is wrong,” Masiraha said.

“The truth is that the union has lost its focus and mandate and we cannot carry on like this. If we have to restructure then we will do so.”

Comments (11)

It would be most unfortunate if ZINASU chooses to back the newly formed political opposition party to oppose the opposition.How can the learned fail to see that the so called RENEWAL TEAM is derailing our struggle??Why can't we fight infiltration among us???How on earth can we win in this struggle if we hop from party to party????

GAMACHUCHU - 30 June 2014

ZINASU may have lost focus terribly in this struggle.The so called RENEWAL TEAM is full of power hungry individuals who selfishly blame Tsvangirai for the wrong advices they deliberately gave him. No, Tsvangirai did not lose the July election alone. After all,what better ideas does 'the renewal team'have to remove ZANU PF from power? We can't afford silly experiments with new leadership in this struggle.

SIMUKAHUTU - 30 June 2014

Even the educated can be hoodwinked. Surely,what is in the 'RENEWAL TEAM'to attract any meaningful following especially from the educated people?Why should educated people be so confused?Is it money that they so love at the expense of real freedom??

GURUMWANDIRA - 30 June 2014

Tsvangirai started this party, he is the MDC, let him be with his party, Biti and his boys should start their own party, this boy (Biti) is sick! The sickness is in his head now.

Man - 30 June 2014

Tine Mishonga yechivanhu inowedzera nguva pabonde kuti irebe, inokudza nhengo dzana baba mumazuva 7, inosimbisa musana, inopedza zvirwere zvepabonde, inorapa asima, zvirwere zveshuga uye newekuuchika unoita kuti pamuviri pabate. fonai pa 0737286007.All herbs does not have side effects and comes from Malawi. Free deliveries in Harare and outside we can send through swift

CHIREMBA - 1 July 2014

Grow up guys , this kind of backward thinking is what created the current situation. President Not to blame in ZImbabwe but people like you. Morgan failed us at least Biti asimudza musoro and stood his ground.

Charles Chimukoko - 1 July 2014

They are NOT Learned yet these kids. They are still learning saka vanomborasika vana ava. Vachasvinura maziso zvavo as time moves on kuti vazive kuti Munhu ane bhora ndiye anoMarkwer. ZANU PF , MDC Ncube , Biti Woodwinkers, vose vari concerned about Tsvangirai. Saka trigger-happy scool and college kids are SLOW if they are moving with Biti and darkness.

Madzibaba Ishmael - 1 July 2014

these kids are still undergrads why should they dwell into politics they do not understand. tell them to better be bookworms first them look for money other than being used by a poor & useless, lawless, heatless stupid Biti?

charles - 1 July 2014

Handizvo kuramba takabatirira paleadership isingaite for the sake of it. If Tsvangirai has failed as he has shown, we have to move on. Ndozve zanu zvekungoti sika sika nemunhu mumwechete ipo paine vamwe vano kwanisa kutungamirira. Lets move on - the renewal project is a another alternative. Tsvangs and his women agenda no no no!

taurai - 1 July 2014

What opposition does not know is that there time to be vetted by us has not yet come....want we want is someone who can remove the current regime them we will talk from there........Tsvangirai shows the character to do it despite of his short falls and i suggest he abandon the MDC name,form another vehicle and go to election....MDC M,MDC W and MDC Renewal will not get even closer to votes Tsvangison can get......we are not ready for "change" yet but removal of the regime

lolo - 1 July 2014

Only idiots&sellouts foolishly compare RGM's unprecedented long stay on top of ZANU PF with MT's 15 years on top of MDC-T. At this juncture,we can't afford to experiment with such misguided elements like BITI&his clueless team.We know for a fact that BITI& CO are a ZANU PF project.We can never be fooled by these people bent on derailing our struggle...

RURAMISO MURARAME - 1 July 2014

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