Tsvangirai can go — Zanu PF

HARARE – Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party Friday said threats by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the inclusive government were “baseless”.

Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, said Tsvangirai and his MDC-T were free to get out of the inclusive government if they so wished.

On Thursday the Prime Minister threatened to pull out of the fragile coalition following the arrest of Energy minister Elton Mangoma, a top MDC-T official and negotiator to the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Mangoma was arrested for his alleged role in a fuel deal between Petrol Trade and a South African company, Nooa Petroleum, which was contracted to supply five million litres of fuel to Zimbabwe.

Yesterday Mangoma was indicted for trial at the High Court.

An angry-looking Tsvangirai told a news conference at Harvest House in Harare the arrest was a reflection of Zanu PF’s disregard for the “basic tenets of decency and an assault on the GPA”.

But Gumbo said the threats were unfounded. “These are baseless threats,” Gumbo told NewsDay. “The GPA is clear that if anyone is not happy they can opt out.”

Gumbo said he was surprised by Tsvangirai’s threats because there was nothing amiss about Mangoma’s arrest. "If someone commits a crime, why should he not be arrested?” he asked.

“The MDC always talk about the rule of law. If the police establish that someone has committed a crime what’s wrong if that person is arrested?” 

Gumbo added: “We find it absurd that each time something happens against the MDC, they say it’s a violation of human rights but if it happens to Zanu PF, they say they must go to jail.

Let’s be balanced.”

But MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said his party would not quit the government but instead, “it is Zanu PF that we can boot out”.

“Obviously Mr Gumbo is having problems reading the GPA,” Chamisa said. “The GPA he is talking about has issues that have not been implemented. We did not say we will pull out. It is Zanu PF that we can boot out.”

He added: “What we said is that we should have a clean divorce. It’s not a threat but a statement of fact.

We are not in the habit of issuing threats or ultimatums. We give facts and our clear position. Our position is that we are not happy with the way Zanu PF is treating people, business, our civil servants, women and children.”

Chamisa said what the MDC-T wanted was a “clean divorce” which will be achieved through a roadmap in terms of the GPA. – NewsDay