Friday, 6 February 2015

Tsvangirai leaves seminar in a huff

Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
MDC formations’ leaders Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Mr Tendai Biti clashed in Harare on Thursday after Mr Tsvangirai gatecrashed a seminar in which Mr Biti was supposed to be the guest speaker.

The Sapes policy dialogue series initially advertised Mr Biti as the main act on the topic, “Zimbabwe 2015: Whither the Economy?” with researcher Mr Takunda Mugaga as discussant.

According to sources, when the invites were sent out on Wednesday, the Tsvangirai camp approached the conveners asking them to also include someone from his faction, fearing Mr Biti would steal the limelight.
Tsvangirai leaves seminar in a huff
“They initially suggested Tapiwa Mashakada to come and represent them, but then later said he was unable to come and they sent Vince Musewe,” said a source.

Mr Tsvangirai came to the meeting, to the surprise of guests and conveners at Sapes, with his security details arriving earlier.

He arrived at 5:30pm and sat in a corner where he was shortly joined by his secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora and confidant and nephew Mr Hebson Makuvire.

Mr Tsvangirai followed proceedings uneasily, occasionally toying with his cellphone and left in a huff at the end of proceedings, sparing no moment, as is the tradition, for a chat with fellow attendees or Mr Biti himself.


“It looks like it will be a long way before the two men agree on re-uniting and what happened yesterday was a sign that they will not be getting together soon,” said a source close to the developments.

Sapes director Dr Ibbo Mandaza yesterday played down the clash and suggestions that he had set the two up, saying attendance to the forum was by invitation sent based on a public mailing list.

Interestingly, Mr Tsvangirai’s emissary Mr Musewe, suggested that Zimbabwe needed “critical junctures” leading to “profound changes” in the country’s politics, such as military and public uprising and the death of President Mugabe and the First Lady Grace and challenged Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti to unite.

“The sixth critical juncture is the issue of the united front where Tendai Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai sit at the table,” he said.

“I urge Tendai, being here and Morgan, being here, that there are 12 million people who are looking up to you for a change and if there is any responsibility falling on your shoulders it is those 12 million families.”

Musewe cryptically added that, “Zimbabwe needs a mother figure as its leader.”

Mwonzora later confided in The Herald that there were attempts at reuniting Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti.

Mr Biti was lukewarm in response to joining hands with Mr Tsvangirai and hinted that he could only unite with him on specific issues such as boycott of elections, service delivery and the push for constitutionalism. Herald
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