Tsvangirai rebukes senior party officials in Bulawayo
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Tsvangirai last Friday summoned the party's Bulawayo leadership to the provincial headquarters, where he lambasted them for frustrating members who subsequently defected to the MDC led by Welshman Ncube.
Some officials who attended the meeting told the Zimbabwe Independent Tsvangirai was in a "no-nonsense mood" and sharply castigated the leadership for frustrating the party's efforts to mobilise support.
The officials said Tsvangirai asked them to write anonymous letters highlighting problems rocking Bulawayo province after it emerged that members were disgruntled over "imposition of branch and district members by senior party members, which triggered the Makokoba defections".
"The PM warned that he would not tolerate senior officials behaving like they own the party, which was formed with the support of the masses," said one official.
The tense meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, (Tsvangirai's second-in-command), organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, MPs, senators and provincial executive committee members.
MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo confirmed Tsvangirai lashed out at his aides, but declined to elaborate.
"The president (Tsvangirai) and Chamisa addressed the issues which are affecting supporters, especially (those) which forced defectors to ditch the party," said Khumalo. "However, I cannot go into details of the meeting."
Tsvangirai was also furious at top officials who were fingered in the violence that rocked MDC-T in the run-up to the 2011 congress held in Bulawayo. The senior officials were named in a report by a commission of inquiry which investigated the clashes.
Senior MDC-T officials in Bulawayo have, however, said the defections were a case of chickens coming home to roost, after Tsvangirai repeatedly ignored pleas from members to rein-in Khupe and her supporters in Bulawayo.
The officials said Tsvangirai was warned in 2007 in meetings and through affidavits and petitions written by disgruntled party members to censure Khupe and her ally, Dorcas Sibanda, for flouting party procedures in elections within the MDC-T's Bulawayo East structures.
Khupe stands accused of dictatorship and tribalism - charges which she denies - in Bulawayo province with officials alleging she replaced all Shona party activists in the Bulawayo East district party structures with Ndebeles.
"We implore you to reprimand Miss Khupe and Miss Sibanda and show us as members of the party and the world at large that the MDC still holds up the original manifesto which held corruption in all forms as despicable and inimical to democracy," reads a 2008 petition addressed to Tsvangirai, signed by the party's Bulawayo East structures.
Swithern Chirwodza, in charge of policy and research in the party's Bulawayo province, in 2007 wrote a letter of complaint after being assaulted by Dixon Mohammed and Themba Moyo, allegedly at the instigation of Khupe and Sibanda, at a meeting to deal with internal problems.
Mohammed and Moyo each paid Z$40â€¯000 in admission of guilt fines at Bulawayo Central Police Station under case number CR96.11.2007.
When contacted, Chirwodza declined to comment insisting he could only do so after clearance from the national executive.
Khupe referred all questions to Bulawayo provincial chairperson, Gorden Moyo, who dismissed the allegations saying they had a "Zanu PF odour".
"I'm convinced that those people who rushed to you with such claims are not genuine members of our party of excellence," said Moyo. "It is the work of those who are afraid of the vice-president (Khupe) who beat them in elections and has been outstanding in her party and national contribution."
Moyo denied reports that Khupe had been singled out in the MDC-T findings on intra-party violence, saying the report had not even been discussed, let alone seen by senior party officials. He also denied reports of defections.
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