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Tsvangirai Says Mugabe Sponsoring Factionalism in MDC-T

Morgan Tsvangirai seen with former MDC99 leader Job Sikhala
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) founding president Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday accused President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party of sponsoring factionalism in the troubled opposition party.

Addressing mourners in Harare at the family home of one of the MDC founding member, Freggy Dhungwa, popularly known to MDC activists as Mudhara Mutambu, Tsvangirai said it is clear to him and some in his party that President Mugabe and his party are responsible for the infighting currently rocking the labour-backed party.

Mr. Mugabe told thousands of people who gathered at the National Sports Stadium to mark Zimbabwe’s 34 years of independence last Friday that those in the MDC-T advocating for leadership renewal like expelled deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma could as well form their own party.

Tsvangirai said to him that means Mr. Mugabe is sponsoring those who are calling for his ouster.

But the spokesperson of those calling for leadership renewal in the MDC-T, Jacob Mafume, who was also expelled from the opposition party, said Tsvangirai’s statements are far away from the truth.

Tsvangirai said he will not lose sleep because of people like Mangoma, who were not there when the MDC was formed in 1999, adding they do not understand the founding values of the opposition party.

But Mafume said what is important is to build a formidable force that will remove Zanu PF from power in the next elections expected in 2018 and not the fact that some people were not there when the party was launched.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo distanced his party from the internal squabbles affecting Tsvangirai’s MDC party.

A report carried by the Mail and Guardian newspaper suggests that Mangoma and his other colleagues calling for leadership change in the MDC-T are on the verge of forming a coalition with other opposition parties.

The paper said the coalition, that will be called the United Democratic Front, will not include the former prime minister.

Turning to the deceased, Tsvangirai said Dhungwa was a fearless politician who remained strong in the face of opposition.

The late politician’s daughter, Sheila, said his father was determined to see a democratic country despite his advanced age.

Dhungwa, who died at the age of 82 on Monday, was once assaulted in 2008 by soldiers who man the presidential palace and has not been well since then, according to his relatives.

The MDC supporter, who is one of the founding MDC members, is survived by his wife Constance and eight children. His remains will be interred at the Warren Hills cemetery in Harare on Wednesday.