Tsvangirai and Biti blasts Mutambara for backing Mugabe

THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has publicly attacked Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and his party for siding with President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF during last Thursday’s Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security mini-summit in Maputo.

Addressing a rally on Sunday at Chibuku Stadium, Chitungwiza, Tsvangirai and his party’s secretary-general Tendai Biti took turns to lambast Mutambara for his “behaviour” at the summit.

Sources who attended the summit, which resolved that the principals to the global political agreement (GPA) should resolve outstanding issues within 30 days from November 5, said Mutambara backed Zanu PF’s claim that Tsvangirai was running a parallel government from his office.

This irked the MDC-T and on Sunday the party openly attacked Mutambara and vowed to stop him from using the MDC preface.

Biti told the over 5 000 MDC-T supporters that Mutambara was betraying the democratisation struggle by associating his party with Mugabe.

He said in Maputo Mutambara had sold out, but did not give specific details.

“Mutambara and the MDC-M are an extension of Zanu PF,” said Biti. “What kind of a party president would fail to garner more than 300 votes during last year’s elections in Chitungwiza? He is not worthy to be deputy prime minister.

“We are going to ensure that he stops using our name. The MDC belongs to us because we have the mandate of the people to be in government. Mutambara’s party has no support at all.”

Mutambara lost the Zengeza West seat to MDC-T’s Collin Gwiyo in last year’s parliamentary elections.
Tsvangirai also fired salvos at Mutambara during the same rally.

“We were shocked by Mutambara in Maputo. His behaviour was out of this world,” the premier said. “We now know he is not one of us.”

Yesterday, Mutambara declined to comment on the MDC-T position.

“I am not interested in what they said,” Mutambara said. “I am more concerned with nation-building.”

Turning to other issues, Biti told the rally that the MDC-T would remain in the inclusive government to fight for democracy, restoration of dignity to the people, hope, security and prosperity.

“As a party we have several destinations to reach to bring real change and delivery to the people,” Biti, who is the Finance Minister, said. “We need a new constitution, democracy and national healing. We have to end political violence, which over the years became a Zanu PF totem. Zanu PF has no love, no future, no direction.”

Tsvangirai said the MDC-T would stay put in the inclusive government as “recommended by the people” during his party’s month-long consultative process on whether or not to disengage from government.

He said their three-week partial withdrawal from government paralysed progress, but was necessary to force Mugabe and Zanu PF to fully implement the GPA.

“The resolution of outstanding issues will give confidence nationally and internationally,” Tsvangirai said. “We can only get international assistance if we honour our own commitments and agreements.”

He said Mugabe should implement the decisions of the Sadc Troika within the stipulated 30 days.

The Troika said the sticking points should be resolved in 15 days, while another 15 days were set aside to allow mediation by South African President Jacob Zuma in the event that Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara reached a deadlock.

Tsvangirai wants Mugabe to reverse the unilateral appointments of central bank governor Gideon Gono, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and provincial governors.

The party is also demanding an end to politically motivated arrests of its MPs and the ongoing prosecution of its treasurer Roy Bennett who returns to court on Monday facing banditry charges.

Before the Sadc Troika mini-summit, Mugabe argued that he had met his part of the bargain. He maintained that the only outstanding issues were the sanctions and continued external radio broadcasts into the country.

But the Sadc communiqué issued after last Thursday’s summit attended by leaders from Mozambique, Zambia, Swaziland and South Africa said “the parties should fully comply with the spirit and letter of the GPA and Sadc summit decisions of 27 January 2009”.

Tsvangirai said Mugabe’s mistake was that he was regarding the MDC-T as a junior partner in the shaky nine-month-old government of national unity.

“We will not leave, our people told us that we should fight from inside. Why should we leave when we are the majority party?” asked Tsvangirai. “We didn’t get into this government on the generosity of Mugabe and Zanu PF. We are equal partners who should be accorded mutual respect.” The premier said Zuma would visit Zimbabwe in a fortnight to ensure that the Troika resolutions were implemented.

Zuma took over as facilitator of the unity pact from ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki, whom the MDC-T accused of being biased towards Mugabe and Zanu PF.

“Zanu PF has this window of opportunity to demonstrate goodwill and that they are committed to the unity government and commit themselves to the Sadc resolutions,” Tsvangirai said.

He did not say what his party would do if Mugabe failed to meet the Sadc Troika demands, but sources in the party said he would ask the regional bloc to call for a full summit and whip the 85-year-old veteran leader into line. The Independent