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Tsvangirai speaks out

Dumisani Muleya

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday his party will resolve its infighting at its congress early next year.

a, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>He said the party would emerge stronger from the conflict which centres on the senate election on November 26.

Tsvangirai said the congress, set for February month-end, would deal with the ongoing strife and map a way forward. “Congress, which is coming in February, will sort out this crisis. The issue of leadership renewal and cohesion and the current situation will be resolved by the people,”

Tsvangirai said in an interview at his Strathaven home in Harare.

“The MDC will survive beyond this crisis. It’s just a temporary setback. You must understand the party is going through a process of self-renewal but it will emerge stronger with or without the same leaders.”

The MDC is fighting a war of attrition between camps led by Tsvangirai and another by secretary-general Welshman Ncube over the pending senate election. Tsvangirai’s faction is pushing for a boycott of the poll, while the Ncube group is campaigning for participation.

Tsvangirai said preparations for congress were going on well. He said if the Ncube camp boycotted congress the event would go ahead regardless.

“Congress will go ahead. We are not going to be hamstrung by divisions over senate. The people will elect a new leadership and that leadership will have to move the party beyond this crisis,” he said.

“We have to embark on a strategy of democratic resistance. The strategic decision I took as party leader to boycott the senate election was precisely designed to keep the party on track.

He conceded that the party leadership had lost the bigger picture of the national crisis in the heat of differences over senate elections. He said he had gone through similar situations in the past and hoped the MDC power struggles would end soon.

“We are going through a period of turbulence and we have to survive this situation because the real struggle still lies ahead. The regime has not been defeated and this infighting gives it a breathing space,” he said.

“All parties go through a period of turbulence, look at the ANC in South Africa, Zanu PF, the ruling parties in Malawi and Kenya. They have internal problems but the challenge is how to deal with such issues when they arise. I think the MDC has adequate and strong mechanisms to deal with its own problems.”

Told that the MDC had failed to dislodge the incumbent regime in the past and now appears even less able to do so, Tsvangirai said: “We know our strengths, our weaknesses and our capacities.”

He denied allegations of “willfully violating” the constitution, being a dictator, a tribalist and running a mafia-style youth militia to attack colleagues – all charges levelled in recent weeks by the opposing faction.

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