MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai clashed with party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora at a strategic meeting last week amid sharp divisions on the findings of a survey commissioned by the United States-based organisation, Freedom House, sources have revealed.
The survey, among other findings, indicates the MDC-T’s support base dwindled from 38% to 20% in the last 18 months, while support for Zanu PF went up from 17% to 31% in the same period.
Sources said Mwonzora and other senior party officials were in the firing line and left with egg on the face after hasty attempts to denounce the report on the grounds there was no way Zanu PF could have gained support because of its history of violence and intimidation were crushed by Tsvangirai.
“Tsvangirai was not amused by Mwonzora and other party information chiefs who rushed to deny the authenticity of the report instead of using the information to solve the party’s problems and planning adequately for the coming elections,” a source said.
Said another source: “Tsvangirai was not happy with the press statement released by Mwonzora who was asked to read the statement in the meeting and questioned why it was different to what had been agreed on.”
It was agreed in the meeting to acknowledge and respect the Freedom House report and ideas were tabled on how the party was going to respond, the sources said.Tsvangirai’s sentiments resonate with those of MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti who, in an article in a weekly paper yesterday, said it was clear a chasm had developed between the party grassroots and its members seconded into government as suddenly, “one group was now driving Mercedes Benzes and on the face of it now at par with the Zanu PF effigy of power and corruption”.
In the past surveys by Freedom House have been favourable to the MDC-T. — Staff Writer.