Mutambara belittles Tsvangirai

Mutambara’s outburst, which observers fear will widen the chasm that already exists between the two factions, came during a meeting of of the MDC’s provincial officials in Harare on Sunday. Media reports quoted Mutambara as saying: “If Tsvangirai wants to be president of Zimbabwe he should come through Mutambara, after competing with me. “I have confidence I can destroy him. When I said he was my hero I didn’t mean that I was scared of him . . . We do not want to be responsible for the demise of opposition politics in Zimbabwe . . .” In his leadership acceptance speech in February, Mutambara hailed Tsvangirai as a hero and pledged to work with him to unite the MDC. In interviews last week, he still insisted that “we should give unity a chance”. However, Tsvangirai and his advisers have said Mutambara would be welcome as long as he accepts that Tsvangirai is the “legitimate leader” of the MDC. Mutambara does not seem to be interested in being a mere follower. He said: “Since there are others that also claim to be the MDC, we respect the disagreements, but they must repent and become followers. The issue of the party’s name and properties will end with re-unification of the MDC based on values. If that fails, then the courts will decide. “If Tsvangirai refuses we can go it alone. I am not afraid of Tsvangirai, he thinks when I said he is my hero I am afraid of him.” Last week, Mutambara made a scene during an interview with SABC News. During the interview, which was conducted by Daniel Makokera and which touched on a number of issues including how Mutambara hoped to unite the MDC, Mutambara raved and ranted at the journalist, calling him a political apologist, accusing him of being “slow . . . stuck in time”. Barely a minute into the interview, during which Mutambara was introduced to viewers in glowing terms, the interview degenerated into a circus with Mutambara refusing to answer some personal questions, threatening the journalist and referring some questions to Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, Harare Governor David Karimanzira and the media in Zimbabwe. “I smash political apologists . . . I am not going to answer that question, it is a bankrupt question . . . next question please! . . . Can we move on, my brother? . . . people like you are stuck in time,” Mutambara said during the interview. Tsvangirai’s group was due to hold their congress this weekend, where he was set to be retained as leader. His group have to fill other positions left vacant by some of his senior colleagues who are backing Mutambara. The MDC’s former European representative, Grace Kwinjeh, was said to be gunning for the information and publicity portfolio held by Nelson Chamisa, with Tapiwa Mashakada and Tendai Biti set to fight it out for the secretary general’s position. Tsvangirai’s officials said they expected up of 10 000 people to attend. Later today, Mutambara will address his first public rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo.

March 2006
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