Mangoma sex scandals engineered by rivals

Adultery allegations levelled against MDC Renewal Team treasurer-general Elton Mangoma are part of a smear campaign by his rivals who feel threatened by his growing support base, party officials said yesterday.

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BY OBEY MANAYITI

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Mangoma was last week accused of snatching Yemurai Maravanyika, the 20-year-old wife of party youth leader Believe Tevera.
\nThe matter turned bloody as Mangoma was allegedly assaulted by Tevera who was in turn attacked by supporters of the party leader.

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Mangoma has denied the allegations, saying “irreconcilable political differences” within Renewal Team party camps was the source of what he said was a smear campaign against him.

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A party disciplinary committee has been set to deal with Mangoma’s case.

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Without mentioning names, Mangoma said at a press conference last week that there were two camps within the party which were failing to agree on the way forward for Renewal Team.

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“As I speak, extensive consultations are underway as to the way forward within and outside the party. This is being done in the context of two diametrically opposed visions that have emerged within the party and that are increasingly proving to be irreconcilable,” he said.

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Pressed to reveal the names of people behind the plot, Mangoma said: “You guys must see what it means. It doesn’t require a scientist to tell.”

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Maravanyika yesterday said: “What Mangoma is saying can be true because before Tevera said all those things to the media he texted me a message asking about Mangoma. I told him I don’t know anything about him and that is when he said he wants to fix him politically.”

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Founding Renewal Team member Pishai Muchauraya accused the party’s secretary-general Tendai Biti of trying to destroy Mangoma’s political ambitions.

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“Biti wants to eliminate the most senior person in Renewal so that he assumes leadership,” the former Makoni South legislator said. “To me, that is foolish.”

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“I have a strong feeling and I know for certain that the allegations against Mangoma are manufactured in order to tarnish his image. This is not new. We have seen it in Zanu PF and MDC-T where people have been framed as a way to get rid of them.”

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Muchauraya said whenever there was a power contest, contestants were known to invest a lot of energy and resources into smear campaigns meant to eliminate their opponents.

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He said Renewal Team did not have a constitution and there was no way a disciplinary committee could be constituted to deal with Mangoma.

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“I am surprised that a disciplinary committee has been set to probe Mangoma. What section of the constitution did he violate?” Muchauraya asked.

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“Ever since we left [MDC-T leader Morgan] Tsvangirai, we never institutionalised an entity to come up with a constitution or even a code of conduct. It’s shocking to some of us. Maybe they are trying to use natural laws, but again, our argument is: who adopted them?”

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He added: “I know we have some lawyers in our ranks, but ever since we left Tsvangirai, we never sat down to discuss these things. We cannot use the MDC-T constitution. They are just trying to mislead the general membership in the same manner they misled our MPs that they would not be recalled from Parliament.”

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Other Mangoma sympathisers said they were planning to expose members of their rival camp.

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“I don’t know whether they will be able to sustain what they have started. We are going to expose them with evidence-based adulterous affairs. Sometimes it’s important not to throw stones when you stay in a glass house,” a senior Renewal Team member who refused to be named said.

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“This is a congress agenda. After realising that Biti has no support at the grassroots, his supporters then started this smear campaign. He just wants to be appointed president and we are refusing that,” Thabani Mlambo, one of the leaders in the youth assembly, said.

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He said they were also not recognising the disciplinary committee set up to deal with Mangoma’s issue.

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Efforts to get a comment from Biti were fruitless as his mobile phone was unreachable.

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However, Renewal Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume refuted the allegations, saying Mangoma and his supporters should stop defaming other people over issues he was solely responsible for.

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He said Biti could not stoop so low as to manufacture such allegations against Mangoma.

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“As he [Mangoma] battles the allegations, the rest of the party is going ahead with its designated tasks. The secretary-general was in Bulawayo addressing party members and now he is in Europe where he is interacting with the world-thinking community in pursuit of global solutions,” Mafume said. “Allegations [of adultery] are either true or false. No power struggles in a party cause anyone to sleep with anyone.”

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Mafume said the allegations against Mangoma were of a personal nature and the parties to the saga were clearly identified.
\n“It is a matter they are capable of dealing with privately without drama,” he said.

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“No one can plot adultery because they do not want congress. Maybe he was misunderstood or the trauma of the whole process created muddled thinking.”

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Mafume said Mangoma should not create imaginary enemies when, in fact, people stood by him when he was about to go into political oblivion after he was suspended from MDC-T.

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He said people lost their parliamentary seats, including Biti himself, in solidarity with Mangoma and it would be unfair for the treasurer-general to conflict his ambitions in such a manner.- The Standard