LEADER of the splintered Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai has turned down an invitation to a public discussion with other opposition l
eaders where he would have come face-to-face with the faction led by Arthur Mutambara.
The meeting of five opposition parties takes place in Bulawayo tomorrow.
Issues pertaining to the split in the MDC were expected to take the limelight at the public meeting convened by a local think-tank, Bulawayo Agenda, to discuss the country’s mounting problems.
Other opposition leaders invited to tomorrow’s meeting are Daniel Shumba of the United People’s Party (UPP), Paul Siwela of Zapu, Pearson Mbalekwa of the United People’s Movement (UPM), and Leonard Nkala of the Patriotic Union of Matabeleland (Puma). Siwela, Mutambara, Shumba and Nkala all confirmed they would attend the meeting while Mbalekwa was not reachable for comment.
Spokesperson for Mutambara’s camp, Gabriel Chaibva, confirmed that their leader would attend the meeting.
“The president is aware of the invitation and he is arriving from the United States on Friday. Definitely he will be in Bulawayo on Saturday for the meeting,” Chaibva said.
Tsvangirai faction spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, said Tsvangirai had other commitments on Saturday.
“It’s unfortunate that President Tsvangirai is not going to attend this meeting because he has other prior arrangements. But as a party we realise the importance of creating platforms of interacting on the new Zimbabwe we want,” Chamisa said.
He however said Tsvangirai would avail himself at future fora to discuss problems afflicting Zimbabwe.
Sources in the Tsvangirai camp said the faction was irked by the invitation to Mutambara, a move viewed at Harvest House as legitimising Mutambara’s group.
The sources said Tsvangirai decided not to attend the meeting after consulting with national executive members on Wednesday evening.