According to MDC-T sources, Tsvangirai said this at a meeting of his party executives and Harare provincial leaders last Saturday.
The meeting was part of moves by Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti, the MDC-T secretary-general, to close ranks following reports of power struggles between the two politicians.
Both Tsvangirai and Biti, who as Finance minister is one of the most powerful figures in government, addressed the Saturday meeting.
They both accused MDC-T Harare provincial leaders of fanning divisions, sources who attended the meeting told the Zimbabwe Independent this week.
“Tsvangirai pointed out that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) was behind moves to create a wedge between himself and Biti,” a source said. “But he also made it clear that proximity-seekers, those who frequented his residence to seek favours, were feeding him with dirty rumours and lies about other senior party officials,” the source said. “He was very clear that this bootlicking was a serious internal threat and that this had also contributed to the perception that Biti was trying to wrestle power from him.”
Tsvangirai, the sources said, accused the MDC-T Harare provincial leadership of leading the “gossip peddling cycle”.
The sources said Tsvangirai accused senior party members from Harare province of sponsoring youths who spent time milling around Harvest House, the MDC-T headquarters.
These youths recently attacked party director-general Toendepi Shonhe and confiscated his official car for allegedly blocking them from party employment. “Tsvangirai said no idle youths should be allowed at Harvest House again,” another party source said.
MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa yesterday confirmed that Tsvangirai and Biti had addressed the issue of perceived power wrangles during the Saturday meeting.
“The meeting with Harare province was part of a programme that we have started to inform our structures of the corrosive machinations of those who want to see us divided,” Chamisa said. “We have already met party leaders in Manicaland and Bulawayo and this is going to be a countrywide programme.”
The party’s national executive will discuss the matter tomorrow, while the national council, the MDC-T’s top decision-making body, would tackle the perceived divisions at a meeting on Sunday.
Chamisa said this fire-fighting exercise was meant to avoid another split in the party “because the CIO takes advantage of our democratic credentials and use divergent views expressed by our members to stage divisions”.
“It happened in 2005 (when the MDC split into the current two factions) and the state machinery which is still under Zanu PF’s control will try to do it again. President Tsvangirai is aware of the machinations to sidetrack the MDC from real issues such as the constitution, elections (party treasurer Roy) Bennett’s persecution and the full implementation of the global political agreement,” said Chamisa.