The Zimbabwe Independent – ‘Tsvangirai boycotted senate after secret meeting with General Mujuru’

January 20, 2006 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Zimbabwe Independent -20th Jan 2006

THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction led by party deputy leader Gibson Sibanda yesterday claimed Morgan Tsvangirai, now in charge of a rival faction, decided to boycott the senate election after a meeting with former army commander retired General Solomon Mujuru.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi, who now speaks for Sibanda’s camp, said Tsvangirai changed his stance on the election after a meeting with Mujuru in South Africa in September. He said prior to the secret meeting – which has been reported in the press – Tsvangirai wanted the MDC to fight the poll.

“Before the 12 October 2005 national council meeting, it had generally been agreed by all senior MDC officials, including Morgan Tsvangirai that the party would participate in the senatorial election,” Nyathi said.

“At the time Tsvangirai intended to use the senate election as an opportunity to accommodate senior party officials such as Isaac Matongo, Lucia Matibenga and Sekai Holland who had failed to make it to parliament by finding them safe seats in which they could stand as senatorial candidates.”

Nyathi, who lost his Gwanda seat in last year’s general election, said Tsvangirai also reasoned at the time the move would “help remove the financial burden on the party in terms of salaries”.

“Tsvangirai changed his stance on the issue of participation in the senate election after a secret meeting in South Africa with former Zimbabwean army commander General Solomon Mujuru,” he said.

“Tsvangirai had travelled to South Africa on the pretext that he was going to congratulate his daughter-in-law who had just had a new baby. The main purpose of his visit though was to meet up with Mujuru.”

Nyathi said rumours of the meeting filtered back to Harare and, on his return, Tsvangirai was confronted by senior colleagues over the issue. “He admitted having held a secret meeting with Mujuru in South Africa but only said tichakutaurirai kuti zvichafambiswa sei. (I will tell you how it will go).’ To this day Tsvangirai has not disclosed full details of his secret meeting with Mujuru.”

However, Tsvangirai’s spokesman William Bango denied the meeting ever took place. “Tsvangirai has never met with Mujuru. He has never met either General Mujuru or Amai (Joice) Mujuru or any of their family members in his life,” Bango said.

“The closest he has come to Mujuru is seeing him on television. These claims have appeared in other newspapers but I can tell you Tsvangirai did not meet Mujuru.”

But Nyathi insisted Tsvangirai had met Mujuru and that he actually confirmed it after being confronted about it. He said the purpose of the meeting was to withdraw the MDC from the election and enter into power-sharing with Zanu PF.

Tsvangirai and Sibanda’s factions have been engaged in a power struggle triggered by differences over participating in the senate election. Tsvangirai boycotted the poll saying the conditions were not conducive for a free and fair election, but Sibanda led his faction into it and lost.

However, Tsvangirai last week changed his mind and entered council elections, leaving his supporters confused about his real plans. The MDC lost the council polls at the weekend. – Staff Writer.

The Zimbabwe Independent

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Entry filed under: Present, Zimbabwe Politics.

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