Coltart gives Tsvangirai ultimatum

Clemence Manyukwe

MDC MP David Coltart, who is trying to play arbiter in the party’s feud, has given anti-senate president Morgan Tsvangirai a deadline to respond to his proposals to negotiate the party’s formal split. The rival faction led by Arthur Mutambara

has given the nod to Coltart to work out a deal.

In letters written on February 20 to Tsvangirai and pro-senate vice-president Gibson Sibanda, Coltart proposed a five-point plan for possible negotiations for reunification or an amicable divorce of the feuding parties.

In his latest letter dated April 8 addressed to Tsvangirai, the former MDC secretary for legal affairs who has tried to remain neutral, said if Tsvangirai fails to respond in the next few days, he would assume that the faction does not want to take up his offer.

“I believe that every day this dispute is allowed to fester the chances of reaching an amicable settlement are lessened. In the circumstances I would be grateful to hear from you within the next few days. If I have not heard from you by then I shall assume that you do not want to take up my offer,” said Coltart.

He added that Mutambara’s faction had responded positively on March 28 to his proposals.

“It is now over six weeks since I wrote to you. I believe that the current dispute needs to be urgently resolved so that both entities can get on with the job of confronting the serious problems facing Zimbabwe,” he said.

He said he had noted the press statement by the Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa, published in the Zimbabwe Independent on March 24, dismissing the offer.

“However, on the 3rd April Eddie Cross forwarded me a note sent to him by William Bango which states that “the matter is still under consideration” and that “I was advised to wait”, said Coltart.

In his statement Chamisa said: “We are aware of Coltart’s plans but we do not know what he is talking about when he talks of reconciliation and amicable divorce of the two parties. The MDC is united. We only have party officials who left to form another party and we will not discuss that.”

In an interview yesterday, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Bango said the opposition leader was not aware of Coltart’s letter. He referred all questions regarding the talks to the faction’s spokesperson Chamisa arguing that the issue was not personal but party business.

However, Coltart who last week said chances of reunification were now minimal, yesterday said the letter had been handed to Tsvangirai on Sunday.