Tag Archives: Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe – Mugabe flies out as protests mount



Mugabe flies out, leaves Zim in flames
August 27, 2016 in National, News
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe obstinately flew out of a burning Zimbabwe yesterday, oblivious to the bedlam around him to attend the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) which began in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday.

While tempers flared in Harare and the situation threatened to explode into full-scale anarchy, for Mugabe it was business as usual.

Pro-democracy groups and opposition parties have in the past few months cranked up pressure against Mugabe’s increasingly authoritarian regime through protests.

But the 92-year-old Zanu PF leader has reacted with his fashionable brute force, bludgeoning activists to a pulp in the process.

While police engaged in running battles with protesters in the capital, Mugabe was posing for photographs with a group of students departing for studies in China.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba could neither deny nor confirm the Zanu PF leader had left for Nairobi.

“I am not going to answer whether he has gone. You should have come to State House where he gave a speech. I cannot paraphrase what the President said, but can only give a statement in anticipation of what he is going to say,” Charamba said. “On TICAD VI, you can write your story that the President went to Japan and you can background your story on that.”

Mugabe has become a frequent flyer in his old age and continues to blow millions of taxpayers’ money on foreign trips, some with little benefit to the economy.

Zimbabwe – anti-Mugabe protests in Harare end in violence

Al Jazeera

Tear gas, water cannons and batons used to disperse rally in capital Harare with unconfirmed reports of injuries.

Mugabe has faced a growing opposition movement calling for him to step down in recent months [Reuters]
Mugabe has faced a growing opposition movement calling for him to step down in recent months [Reuters]

Zimbabwean police have used tear gas, water cannons and batons to disperse an opposition rally protesting against police brutality in the capital Harare.

More than 200 supporters, mostly youths, of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), took to the streets on Wednesday.

Many protesters were reported to have been injured, but police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said she had no information on that.

Riot police blocked streets around the MDC headquarters and used water cannon against some youths in downtown Harare.

Some protesters threw back tear gas canisters, as well as rocks, towards the police, who fired more tear gas outside the MDC offices.

The demonstrators had marched through the streets of the capital denouncing the police for beating up protesters and called on President Robert Mugabe to step down, accusing him of running a dictatorship.

The rally came two days before a planned march by all opposition parties to try to force Mugabe to implement electoral reforms before a general election in 2018.


“We have been seeing a deliberate attempt by the police to intimidate, harass and silence the people of Zimbabwe,” Lovemore Chinoputsa, the MDC Youth Assembly secretary-general, said during the march.

Chinoputsa said police had refused to sanction the march, saying that it would degenerate into violence.

Over the past few months, Zimbabwean police have crushed demonstrations against high unemployment, acute cash shortages and corruption.

The police routinely deny charges of brutality and instead accuse the opposition of using “hooligans” during protests to attack officers.

A trauma clinic in Harare last month compiled a list of cases of people who had been caught up in a police crackdown during anti-government protests.

The MDC’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former vice president, Joice Mujuru, are expected to lead Friday’s march.

Source: Agencies

Zimbabwe – Trevor Ncube advocates “third way” as only hope for the country

Zimbabwe Independent

Only a ‘Third Way’ can fix Zim

For those who are still in denial, it is worth restating: Zimbabwe is broken. Its people are broken. Their minds and spirits are broken. The infrastructure is broken — rotting, in fact. And, unsurprisingly, the image of our country is in tatters.

Trevor Ncube,Publisher

Old age and poor health are now catching up with President Robert Mugabe. This has seen him fall and stumble even at international gatherings, an indication that it is now time for him to go.

It is reckless to have any faith that a political stalwart will emerge from the shadows of Zanu PF and fix Zimbabwe. Such faith underestimates just how hopelessly out of touch the generation of liberators is. As for the opposition, they have no idea how to fix Zimbabwe either.

Only a tough realism can help to fix Zimbabwe. A part of me believes Zimbabwe should be easy to fix — despite decades of neglect, Zimbabwe’s infrastructure and economy are still better than many in Africa. But this can only happen with no-nonsense, principled, visionary leadership; the old patronage politicians have to give way to an accountable political class.

We need a plan that ends the sense of paralysis that has turned the hopes of so many Zimbabweans into a living nightmare.

I have argued before for a “third way” in Zimbabwean politics. Today I am more than ever convinced that this is what the country badly needs: a “third way”, representing a rejection of Zanu PF’s politics of corruption and murder, and a rejection of pedestrian opposition politics.

Nothing less will fix our broken society.

It is understandable that most of the blame for what has gone wrong is directed at Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. He was once the darling of pan-Africanists, but in the last three decades Mugabe has ruined his legacy.

It is telling that Mugabe and his Zanu PF blame everybody else but themselves. For them, the West is mostly to blame for the misery faced by Zimbabweans. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the inner circles of Zanu PF who admits their own violent and chaotic land reform programme has accelerated Zimbabwe’s decline. Of course, when it is not the West being blamed, it’s the opposition parties.

It is heartbreaking to watch this theatre of blame paralyse a once-great political party. And now the focus of blame has shifted inward, and it’s threatening to tear Zanu PF apart. As the end of Mugabe’s reign looms, once-tight comrades are turning on each other. Sadly, none of their gargantuan battles are about saving Zimbabwe; rather, they are aimed at securing the keys to State House, and with them the kind of power, wealth and privilege Mugabe has amassed over three decades of tyranny.

One cannot downplay the immense role Mugabe’s generation played in the fight against the brutal, racist, settler regime led by Ian Smith. But, once in office, Mugabe and company squandered their liberation goodwill. They made it clear that their liberation-war credentials gave them the right to do as they pleased.

My own generation, and those who followed, have been guilty — at various levels of commission and omission — of allowing Zanu PF to loot from the state and abuse society. We watched, at first in disbelief and later in horror, as Mugabe’s regime became increasingly repressive and violent. We should never have been so silent. Yes, those who spoke out were harassed, detained, even killed. But such is the price of freedom.

Millions left Zimbabwe after the regime murdered thousands. It was not simply to seek greener pastures elsewhere, but because many were afraid of Mugabe’s secret service.

Zimbabweans seem to be in agreement about what has happened. Economic mismanagement, greed, corruption and the absolute breakdown of law and order have brought us to this point. Mugabe has run Zimbabwe like a private fiefdom. National institutions have been personalised, captured and pillaged with impunity. The needs of society have been secondary to the elite’s rapacious desires.

Over this period, the national conversation, in hushed voices and whispers, has been about what has happened and who is to blame, rather than what we need to do to get out of this mess.

What noise we have heard from opposition political parties has largely been about how bad the current government is. Little space has been given to any inspiring articulation of an alternative future.

It may seem a paradox for me to say that I still have hope for Zimbabwe. But I do see in the country’s young people a growing impatience with the ageing generation that got us into this situation. This new generation owes no debt of political or economic loyalty to the current crop of leaders. They are fearless and they have the numbers.

A fresh set of faces, untainted by the shenanigans of the past, are Zimbabwe’s only hope if the country is to dream and believe again. Personally, I am exhausted by what we have had to endure for 30 years. I yearn for the promise offered by an independent Zimbabwe in 1980.

I am not alone in dreaming of this fresh start. The majority of Zimbabweans are fed up. The fatigue is palpable, yet they have nothing to turn to. This is why peace-loving, progressive citizens should work towards building a new political vehicle that is transformative and capable of taking Zimbabwe forward.

We need men and women, mostly young, who want to give to the nation and not take from it.

They could get the counsel of seasoned Zimbabweans who have never stolen from the people or shed a drop of blood.

They would be untainted by the past and willing to make sacrifices for the sake of a new society.

This is what Zimbabwe needs urgently: a political collective with clean hands, people who subscribe to the principles of an inclusive society that serves the majority. On the sidelines of the universities, state institutions, the diaspora, even within Zanu PF, the Movement for Democratic Change factions, the military, police and intelligence services, there are such people — decent people who want to work hard, educate their children, take care of their families and contribute to a vibrant society.

After years of being abused and terrorised, we have stopped believing we have the power to change our destiny. It is hard to dream of a new future when you are struggling for the basics of life, but dream we must, for the sake of posterity.

At the heart of our desires is the hunger for freedom — to think, speak, create, choose and move. Such basic freedoms have all been stunted over the past three decades. Yet history shows that freedom is the catalyst for real change. Until Zimbabwe harnesses this freedom, this bounty of creativity and ingenuity, our nation can only perform at the lowest levels of achievement.

Zimbabwe also needs a new constitution. It must be the genuine product of a national dialogue that embodies our hopes and aspirations, unconstrained by our fears; it must be founded on a strong Bill of Rights, and elicit the best in us.

The current document is the outcome of horse-trading between Zanu PF and the two MDC factions. It fails to lay a strong foundation of the rule of law, strong national institutions, transparency and accountability. And, of course, the sanctity of life and respect for private property must find full expression.

We have been traumatised for too long to remember what normal looks like. A new beginning must develop a new way of doing things, across the whole social fabric. We need to agree on new norms and values, based on an empowering political culture that is tolerant and fully utilises our diversity.

We must remember our rights and claim them back. We must find our collective voice. We must learn that a vibrant society is built by active citizens and civil society, not bystanders and whiners.

The greatest damage Zanu PF has inflicted on us is on our minds; our national psyche. We have few role models. Life has been cheapened. Like all wounded and abused people, we have lost respect for ourselves and each other. We routinely take out our frustration on each other.

Self-doubt pervades our endeavours and mediocrity has become the national standard.

My greatest hope for Zimbabwe lies in our young people who seem not to have been contaminated by our limiting politics and debilitating milieu. My sagging spirits have been lifted by this new generation, one unburdened by colonial baggage.

This is a can-do generation that could catapult us into our future if it is empowered. Our mothers, sisters and daughters have not been empowered to participate in all sectors of society, and this is also true of minorities. We will never realise our potential as a nation if these key constituencies remain marginalised. A full-blown nation building effort informed by the people’s agenda must get underway if we are to build the Zimbabwe we want.

The people’s agenda has to focus on everything to do with human progress: empowering people with relevant education and skills, investing in a robust health infrastructure, plus water, power, transport, housing and communications.

Central to this agenda is the efficient and prudent use of the nation’s financial resources. Critically important is that power must once again belong to the people.

The task at hand is daunting. It involves no less of a sense of purpose than that which propelled the freedom fighters to overcome the seemingly all-powerful colonial regime. They were not deterred when doubters said it is the natural order of things for the white man to have everything. Now this generation has to dream of a renewed Zimbabwe.

There is a chance for a new set of actors to emerge. It is their fate to grab our imagination, free us from this post-Independence bondage and allow us to dream big once more. Only then will Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru and Masvingo glow with the hope that once made Zimbabwe one of the most promising young nations on earth.

Ncube is the executive chairman of Alpha Media Holdings — publishers of the NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard — and deputy executive chair of M&G Media in South Africa.

Zimbabwe – are MDC’s days numbered

African Arguments

Zimbabwe: are the MDC’s days numbered? – By Simukai Tinhu


The party congress of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s, an electoral exercise  whose main purpose was to reinvigorate the party in preparation for the 2018 elections, has come and gone. Much of what happened was conveyed by the headlines in local newspapers; ‘Tsvangirai emerges weaker from the Congress,’ ‘Without Unity, MDC is fighting a hopeless cause’, and  ‘Did the MDC-T Congress enhance 2018 electoral chances?’. Often, a sad, dithering photo of Morgan Tsvangirai, the party leader, accompanied such headlines, completing the media’s suggestion that the opposition group is a cause that continues to retreat.

As the MDC’s congenital failure, Tsvangirai’s retention as leader has not gone down well with some sections of the party’s traditional support. Indeed, following an emphatic thumping by ZANU-PF in the July 2013 elections, many thought that the leadership problem had become so serious that the opposition group needed a replacement if the party was to successfully rejuvenate itself. The most touted party apparatchik to succeed Tsvangirai was the youthful and charismatic Nelson Chamisa, who until the congress at the end of October, was the MDC’s Organising Secretary.

A scion of the student movement that shook Zimbabwe’s political establishment in the late 1990s, party enthusiasts expected him, with Tsvangirai’s blessing, to ascend to the position of Secretary General in preparation to take over after 2018. However,  Tsvangirai reportedly strong-armed the internal electoral process in order to have him defeated. Instead, former Party Spokesman Douglas Mwonzora (who is considered to be less able) took over as the new Secretary General, shattering the fragile sense of democracy within the party.

The move to undermine Chamisa’s electoral chances was not only motivated by contempt for the very notion of anyone leading the party, but also a desire to punish the youthful politician. In the run-up to the congress, Mwonzora had led a group of Tsvangirai’s allies who were advocating for whittling down the powers of the Secretary General, and transferring them to the leader of the party, a demand that Chamisa ferociously opposed. Thus, Mwonzora an ardent ally of Tsvangirai, who is associated with initiating and sustaining a mini-cult of Tsvangirai, was rewarded for his acquiescence to Tsvangirai’s demands, and Chamisa was punished for his opposition to the leader’s power grab.

The preponderance of loyalty over merit has seen the promotion, in all party structures, of those who campaigned for Tsvangirai, and the decimation of those with talent from the leadership. With no official positions within party structures, voices of those such as Chamisa are now easy to silence or push down below the surface where they cannot disturb the ‘forward march’ of the MDC. Inadvertently, this behaviour can make the party appear mediocre, making it even more difficult to attract the serious talent that it so desperately needs.

But despite this rapid declension of the opposition outfit, some of the party faithful have been quick to suspend their disappointment. They argue that the party has the capacity to bounce back. However, what hasn’t registered with these optimists is that the grander party of yesteryear is gone.  Indeed, gone are the days of party stalwarts such as the late Learnmore Jongwe, the irreplaceable Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti who left after having concluded that their future lies outside the anguish and failure of MDC politics. Those who have chosen to stay such as Elias Mudzuri, Job Sikhala and Chamisa, have been marginalised, and the party will miss their organisational talents.

This dearth of talent has not only been confined to the party’s political leadership but intellectuals as well. Indeed, the MDC is a party that has never been spoiled with an intellectual community endowed with enough talent to help create a good story. Unable to recruit local talent, until recently the opposition group has had to rely on foreign intellectuals to do the inventing. Indeed, through an incisive critique of ZANU-PF, the story of the MDC was powerfully articulated amongst many, including such prominent academics as ex-Oxford University Professor, R.W Johnston, Steven Chan of SOAS and Professor Robert Rortberg. But, with the erosion of interest in Zimbabwean politics, these academics have refocused their attention elsewhere, and the incapable MDC intellectuals have struggled to sustain the narrative that this foreign group had begun.

Hard pressed for intellectual capacity, the party has not only struggled to articulate its own story, but also to devise an effective political program. Indeed, the party’s sparse academic community has struggled to understand the importance of devising a strategy that can be effective within the context of Zimbabwean politics. For example, practically, the MDC has no ideology; has a modest interest in nationalism, and shuns independence politics. In the politics of Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, ideology, nationalism and politics of independence matter.

Ideology provides pillars around which campaign rhetoric is built. Nationalism and an association with independence politics are not only an inescapable basic moral foundation of post-independence politics, but help the opposition political party establish an ‘authentic’ foothold on national politics. The fate of ‘liberal parties’, especially in countries governed by liberation movements across Africa, offers a useful cautionary tale. ‘Liberal parties’ have never been able to establish a lasting foothold on national political scenes, let alone win power in the post-independence era.

There have been some half hearted intellectual claims within some quarters of the party that because of its links with the former student and labour union leaders, the MDC represents the working class. However, the party’s rather poorly articulated economic arguments have seen the opposition party being linked with neo-liberal economics, leaving in the cold those who get excited at the leadership’s rhetoric on representing the working classes. This contradiction has not struck a chord with the funding community, who for long have struggled to understand where the party stands. Also, their political adversaries have used this identity crisis to plant doubts in the MDC’s commitment to a serious economic programme.

Without a strategy and a convincing political programme, what is it then that has helped the MDC to sustain such a long life span as opposed to other opposition parties that have come and gone in Zimbabwe? Apart from the peculiar economic circumstances that have seen Zimbabwe struggle for a prolonged period, with economic hardship acting as an effective recruitment tool for the opposition, the MDC has benefited immensely from the West’s political patronage. Through a local pro-democracy movement, and directly, the West has not only funded the MDC but also ensured that the party received a positive depiction in the international media. Hardly a master piece of strategy by the opposition, this alliance exposed the party to attacks as a neo-colonialist project, and all kinds of caricature by ZANU-PF.

In an attempt to see Mugabe defenestrated as president, Western media went into an overdrive to project an over romanticised story of a hero fighting an ultimate villain, the Hitler of Africa. Indeed, on more than one occasion, comparisons were made with Mandela’s fight against apartheid. But unlike that of Mandela, Tsvangirai’s image had very shaky foundations. Reports of violence against his opponents, autocratic behaviour and personal shenanigans, coupled with his inability to dislodge Mugabe, compelled the Western media to change its course.

Indeed, towards the July 2013 elections the image of an anti-Mugabe hero was no longer sustainable. Instead, a welter of images that had come to constitute Tsvangirai were quickly replaced by those of a leader who has an affinity for opulence, who is autocratic and whose incompetence has turned the MDC from an asset that could unseat ZANU-PF, to a burden and an embarrassment that was increasingly becoming costly to defend. Also, the new national leadership that took over in Europe at the end of the last decade, appeared to have little fascination with the name Tsvangirai or illusions about his ability to dislodge Mugabe’s party.

Having struggled to absorb this fundamental reality, the MDC leadership reacted angrily, dismissing the West’s support as unnecessary and not needed, utterances that suggest a simplistic view of the larger political space in which the opposition exists. It is not unreasonable to say that the MDC enterprise would not have been born, let alone sustained had it not been for the West’s patronage.

Will the opposition which started with much promise be able to stand after another assault in 2018? Many doubt it. Those who predicted that one day the MDC will take the route of  Zimbabwe’s other opposition parties might not have cast their net too wide open after all. As an opposition, Tsvangirai’s party is close to death; its increasingly disengaged supporters have sunk into despair; its commentating glitterati reduced to spectators of political developments in the ruling party. Internationally isolated, the media coverage and financial opportunities that it once enjoyed have since evaporated. But the person who bears the ultimate responsibility for the death of the party, is its leader, and those around him who have been unable or unwilling to register what is in front of their eyes; that Tsvangirai has failed.

Simukai Tinhu is a political analyst. @STinhu

Zimbabwe – internal ZANU-PF wrangles stall development


Internal Ruling Party Wrangles Stall Development in Zimbabwe

Supporters (wearing red) of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai after witnessing their party losing to President Robert Mugabe in last year's elections. They now face another disappointment as the fight to succeed Mugabe turns attention away from development. Credit : Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

Supporters (wearing red) of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai after witnessing their party losing to President Robert Mugabe in last year’s elections. They now face another disappointment as the fight to succeed Mugabe turns attention away from development. Credit : Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

HARARE, Nov 26 2014 (IPS) – With the ruling Zimbabwe Africa National Union Patriotic Front party in Zimbabwe seized with internal conflicts, attention to key development areas here have shifted despite the imminent end of December 2015 deadline for global attainment of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The eight MDGs targeted to be achieved by 31 December 2015 form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and the world’s leading development institutions.

“Every development area is at a standstill here as ZANU-PF politicians are scrambling to succeed the aged Mugabe here and they have apparently forgotten about all the MDGs that the country also needs to attain before the 2015 deadline” – Agrippa Chiwawa, an independent development expert

But, caught up in the succession fight among ruling party politicians as the country’s 90-year old President Robert Mugabe – who has ruled this Southern African nation for the last 34 years – reportedly  battles ill health ahead of the party’s elective congress in December, development experts say the Zimbabwean government has apparently shifted attention from development to party politics.

“Every development area is at a standstill here as Zanu-PF politicians are scrambling to succeed the aged Mugabe here and they have apparently forgotten about all the MDGs that the country also needs to attain before the 2015 deadline,” independent development expert Agrippa Chiwawa told IPS.

The battle to succeed Mugabe pits Justice Minister Emerson Mnangagwa and the country’s Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who is currently receiving a battering from the former’s faction which has won sympathy from the country’s first family, with First Lady Grace Mugabe venomously calling for the immediate resignation of Mujuru before the ZANU-PF congress.

Chiwawa told IPS that despite the government having contained recent strikes by medical doctors here through appeasing them by reviewing their salaries, the public health sector is in a state of decay amid acute shortages of treatment drugs.

Elmond Bandauko, an independent political analyst, agrees with Chiwawa. “Internal fights within the ZANU-PF party are stumbling blocks to national, social and economic prosperity; the ZANU-PF government is concentrating on its party succession battles as the economy is on its knees and there is no projected solution to the economic woes the country faces at the moment,” he told IPS.

Fighting over who will succeed 90-year-old Robert Mugabe at the head of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has relegated agriculture, like other development issues, to the side-lines if not outright neglect. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

“Policy makers from the ZANU-PF government, who are supposed to be holding debates and parliamentary sessions and special meetings on how to move the country forward, are wasting time on political tiffs that do not save the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans,” Bandauko added.

Even the country’s education system has not been spared by the ruling party political milieu, according to educationists here.

“Nobody is talking about revamping the education system here as government officials responsible are busy consolidating their powers in the ruling party while national examinations are fast losing credibility amid leakages of exam papers before they are written, subsequently tarnishing the image of our country’s quality of education,” a top government official in the Ministry of Education told IPS on the condition of anonymity, fearing victimisation.

Even the country’s ordinary subsistence farmers, like Edson Ngulube from Masvingo Province in Mwenezi district, are feeling the pinch of the failure of politicians. “We can’t beat hunger and poverty without support from government with farming inputs,” Ngulube told IPS.

Yet for many Zimbabweans like Ngulube, reaching the MDGs offers the means to a better life – a life with access to adequate food and income.

Burdened with over half of its population starving, based on one of the U.N. MDGs, Zimbabwe nevertheless committed itself to eradicating hunger by 2015. But, with the Zanu-PF government deeply engrossed in tense power wrangles to succeed Mugabe, Zimbabwe may be way off the mark for reaching this target.

In addition, in September, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa, David Phiri went on record as saying that Zimbabwe could fail to meet the target to eradicating hunger by 2015 owing to conflict and natural disasters.

Zimbabwe’s 2012 National Census showed that more than two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people live in rural areas and, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), this year about 25 percent of them need food aid or they will starve, and between now and 2015, 2.2 million Zimbabweans will need food support.

Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Minister Joseph Made is, however, confident the country is set to end hunger before the 2015 deadline. “We have land and we have hardworking people utilising land and for us there is no reason to doubt that by 2015 we would have eradicated hunger,” Made told IPS.

Claris Madhuku, director for the Platform for Youth Development (PYD), a democracy lobby group in Zimbabwe, perceive things rather differently.

“What actuates Zimbabwe’s failure to attaining MDGs is the on-going governance crisis, a result of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s internal wars to succeed the party’s nonagenarian President, which have not made development any easier,” Madhuku told IPS.

According to the PYD leader, in order for Zimbabwe to experience magnificent development, “the ruling party has to try and get its politics right.”

But with Zimbabwean President Mugabe apparently clinging to the helm of the country’s ruling party with renewed tenacity, it remains to be seen whether or not real development will ever touch the country’s soils.


Zimbabwe – Tsvangirai now expels Biti from MDC

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai ‘expels’ Tendai Biti from MDC

Morgan Tsvangirai has led the MDC since its launch in 1999

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his rival Tendai Biti has been expelled from their MDC party, along with eight other members.

Mr Biti was an “opportunist” who was being manipulated by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, he said.

On Saturday, a faction led by Mr Biti said Mr Tsvangirai had been suspended from the MDC because of a “remarkable failure of leadership”.

The divisions in the MDC follow its defeat in the 2013 elections.

The election ended the coalition the MDC and Zanu-PF had formed after disputed elections in 2008.

Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti, the MDC secretary-general, had been long-standing allies in their campaign to remove Mr Mugabe from power, but fell out after the elections held in July last year.

Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Biti and the other “rebels” had been recalled from parliament.

President Robert Mugabe, 90, has been in power since 1980

Tendai Biti (L) and Mr Tsvangirai (R) used to work together to oust him
“He [Mr Biti] deceived us all. The man doesn’t believe in anything, except his power,” Mr Tsvangirai said, in his first comments since his suspension was announced.

On Saturday, Mr Biti’s faction said the MDC’s national council had voted to suspend Mr Tsvangirai because the party had been “transformed into a fiefdom of the leader”.

Mr Tsvangirai dismissed the meeting as “illegal, unconstitutional, illegitimate and bogus”.

Many MDC supporters are worried that the split could strengthen Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF and are hoping that the two leaders can resolve their differences, reports the BBC’s Brian Hungwe from the capital, Harare.

Mr Mugabe, 90, has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

Second split
Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti played a key role in the launch of the MDC in 1999 to challenge Mr Mugabe’s grip on power.

The party’s formation led to a period of intense repression and violence against the MDC.

Mr Mugabe also ordered the seizure of white-owned farms, and the economy went into crisis.

The two parties formed a power-sharing government in 2009, following mediation efforts by regional leaders.

The unity government ended last year, with Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s victory in presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mr Mugabe obtained 61% of the presidential vote against 34% for Mr Tsvangirai.

This is the second split in the MDC. In 2005, Mr Biti’s predecessor as secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, broke away to launch his own MDC faction.


Zimbabwe – MDC-T rebels suspend Tsvangirai

The Zimbabwean

MDC rebels “suspend” Tsvangirai, top members

MDC pro-reform rebels met today and announced the “immediate suspension” of party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and several other senior party members.

by Tawanda Majoni
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Tendai Biti, the MDC Secretary General, attended the Harare meeting that was chaired by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo.

Elton Mangoma, whom the Tsvangirai faction recently fired for calling on Tsvangirai to step down, youth leader Solomon Madzore and provincials party representatives were also present

Jacob Mafume, the spokesperson of the rebels, told The Zimbabwean that Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, Abednico Bhebhe, Morgan Komichi (Deputy Chair), Douglas Mwonzora (Secretary for Information) and Nelson Chamisa (Organising Secretary) had been suspended by a “full quorum of the National Executive Council”.

“They were found guilty of political violence, undermining the values of the party and unconstitutional decisions,” said Mafume.

He said those that constituted the meeting voted by secret ballot, adding that all suspensions or expulsions of party members that had been made by the Tsvangirai group are null and void and must therefore be reversed.

The MDC leadership has been involved in intense turf battles from the beginning of the year.

The pro-change team that is apparently led by Biti wants Tsvangirai to go, accusing him of failing to steer the party to victory against Zanu (PF) in successive elections since 2000, in addition to undermining the MDC founding values of democracy, tolerance, peace and constitutionalism.

Recently, Tsvangirai claimed the internal differences had been resolved.



Zimbabwe: Opposition MDC suspends Morgan Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change says it is suspending its leader Morgan Tsvangirai for “deviating from democratic principles”.

The announcement, by MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti, follows a party meeting in the capital Harare.

From 2009-2013 Mr Tsvangirai served as prime minister in a fragile power-sharing government, with Robert Mugabe remaining Zimbabwe’s president.

That unity government ended with the elections in July 2013.