MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused President Robert Mugabe of trying to divide his party along ethnic lines.
s-serif”>Tsvangirai said in an interview that Mugabe was trying to drive a wedge between MDC leaders from Mashonaland and those from Matabeleland for political gain.
“The whole strategy is to divide the MDC along regional lines. He wants to say ‘you Ndebele guys come and let’s talk’ in order to divide our party,” he said.
“But it’s a non-starter because our leaders from Matabeleland know they are national leaders and not regional barons. We can see through his political shenanigans.”
In a pre-recorded interview with state television last week, Mugabe said the opposition MDC comprised “very shallow” and some “well-disposed” people who have got depth.
“What I might say is that there are some good people in the MDC, some well-disposed persons who look at things differently from how Tsvangirai looks at them,” Mugabe said.
“I didn’t know, it’s unfortunate that the depth of understanding and appreciation of some of the members of the MDC is very shallow. Those of them with deeper depth are the ones who would want discussion and we encouraged those to discuss with our own people, progressive ideas.”
Mugabe said talks were problematic because those with “shallow ideas” in the MDC were resisting “certain conclusions” of those with depth and “this is the difficulty”.
However, Tsvangirai said Mugabe wanted to clinch another Unity Accord by dividing the MDC. He said his party would resist manipulation on ethnic lines.
“They are trying to create imaginary division in the MDC but we are closing ranks in light of those purported differences,” he said. “He wants to divide the party through Unity Accord II and move forward on his own terms.”
Tsvangirai dismissed as fabricated recent state media reports that MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube wanted to resign over the selection of a candidate for the forthcoming Zengeza parliamentary by-election.
Ncube himself said that was false. He said such stories smacked of “divide and rule tactics”.
MDC officials say there have been attempts by Zanu PF since the 2000 parliamentary election to use primitive ethnic manipulation to undermine the MDC. They say this strategy lies at the heart of unsubstantiated claims that Ncube wants to oust Tsvangirai from party leadership.
Those who believe in ethnic jugglery, the MDC says, think the claims that Ncube wants to depose Tsvangirai will alienate voters in Mashonaland from the opposition.