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Tsvangirai denies violating constitution

Dumisani Muleya

OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has denied a series of allegations levelled against him by the rival faction led by party secretary-general Welshman N


In an interview last week, Tsvangirai denied accusations he had become a dictator by “wilfully violating” the constitution, overruling the party’s national council, the administrative and policy-implementing organ, and unleashing youth militia on colleagues.

“As to whether I have become a dictator, let the people judge. I don’t want to reduce myself to gutter verbal exchanges,” Tsvangirai said.

However, Tsvangirai said the arguments by his rivals were meant to vilify him and mask their agenda to manipulate him. He insisted that he was not wrong when he overruled the MDC council because “the national council can’t make new policy”.

“The accusation that I acted unconstitutionally has no basis. Not only was I politically correct, but I was also constitutionally right. In the MDC (council) you can’t vote on a matter of principle. It was wrong to vote on the senate issue,” Tsvangirai argued.

“When we went into that council meeting these guys (Ncube faction) already had a plan. After debating in the council and running into a deadlock, it was said the management committee had to meet on the issue. I was not the chair and I had no choice but to agree.”

Tsvangirai said when the “top six” met he found himself isolated as the other five – Gibson Sibanda, Isaac Matongo, Professor Ncube, Gift Chimanikire and Fletcher Dulini Ncube – “ganged up” to force him to accept a vote on the matter.

“When we went back to council after the top six meeting I discovered everything was already in place for a vote, showing it was pre-planned. There was certainly a sinister agenda. The vote happened and the result was 33 to 31 in favour of participation in the election.”

Why then did Tsvangirai go ahead to misrepresent the outcome, claiming it was a 50:50 situation and that he had cast a deciding vote?

“What I meant was that there was a deadlock in the council meeting. I meant the provinces were deadlocked. In the management committee I was outnumbered by 5:1,” he said. Pressed on the claim that the vote was tied, Tsvangirai said: “I did not say that.” His rivals say provinces were not deadlocked at all.

On allegations of sponsoring violent politics, Tsvangirai said that was untrue. “I haven’t built any institutions of violence. I’m in fact against violence,” he said.

Why then did he re-hire youths who were fired for attacking party officials? “The youths were not fired, but were relieved of their duties. They are back and they are my bodyguards. The problem is that the other guys want to appoint my guards so that they can monitor what I do using them,” he said.

“Besides, what has that got to do with the senate election?”

Tsvangirai said there was nothing wrong with his advisors – the so-called “kitchen cabinet” – because “they worked very hard and even walked by foot to ensure this party got started. They just offer advice and that is different from decision-making. You can accept, reject or alter advice,” he said.

Does Tsvangirai believe Ncube and his group are state agents and that they collaborated with the state during his treason trial?

“I have never accused them of that. Some people might have said it, but not me,” he said.

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