Mangoma speaks on violence in MDC-T

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Following last Saturday’s violence at the MDC-T headquarters at Harvest House in which the party’s deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma was assaulted in the presence of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, our political reporter Elias Mambo (Independent Reporter (IR)) interviewed him to find out what really went wrong and whether the violence is a prelude to another acrimonious split of the party. Find below the excerpts:

IR: The violence you experienced was a result of the letter you wrote to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai urging him to step down in the interests of leadership renewal. What led you to write that letter?

EM: When we were in (the unity) government, there were a lot of things happening. Some were reported while others were not. So, when I looked at the future of the party, I asked myself whether we are going to achieve our objectives and values; whether we would be able to be transparent, accountable and bring democracy to this country and ensure every person feels they are part of the organisation. I discovered that we are far away from those goals.

I also took stock of who was and who was not behaving according to those values. During the build-up to the crucial general elections (last year) and even way before that everyone saw how we were giving in on a lot of issues. We gave up on our call for the removal of (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) governor Gideon Gono, the issue of (the then Attorney-General Johannes) Tomana, Roy Bennett and a lot more.

We had the Global Political Agreement (precursor to the unity goverment) which we all expected to be implemented in full but we failed again. These are the issues that pushed me to write a letter so that we can refocus and get back to our initial mission, that of bringing democracy to this country.

My letter was to acknowledge that president Tsvangirai had achieved a lot in fighting for democracy and it was important for that legacy to be protected. At times we do not know when we start eating into our own legacies. You see even football players retire when they are at the top of their game in order to protect their legacies.

IR: But how did you deliver the letter because critics in the party claim the approach was wrong?

EM: I gave him the letter myself. We were sitting side by side when I gave him the letter on a Thursday morning and I signed it to say these are my views.

IR: How did Tsvangirai react when you gave him the letter?
EM: Tsvangirai was very calm and the following day in the meeting he was calm.

IR: What was the response from members of the standing committee when they were given copies of the letter in a meeting the following day?

EM: I think the feelings were mixed. Others thought it was wrong to write that letter while others thought the issues I raised were pertinent and needed to be addressed.

IR: So what went wrong?

EM: The problem is that I voiced my concerns at last week’s meeting (on Saturday) that it was a wrong meeting and its timing was wrong because tempers were still high over the letter. Besides, issues that were discussed in that meeting were supposed to be dealt with by senior members of the party instead of juniors (district chairpersons).

IR: What really happened that Saturday leading to your assault?

EM: We left the meeting room to go up to the president’s office on the 5th floor. Party youths, outside were making noise and it was felt the chairman (Lovemore Moyo) should go and disperse them. He failed and we asked the president to go and do the same. He went and addressed them, but we were shocked that they did not disperse. So you should ask yourself how a leader fails to rein in his followers.
As we were going outside, he was in front of me and then he stopped and I proceeded. I made one or two steps and the attacks started. I was bleeding and security officers shielded me from the attacks and whisked me away to Tsvangirai’s vehicle. We drove a few metres away and I got into another vehicle.

IR: Did Tsvangirai say anything while you were being attacked?

EM: I don’t want to say he said anything or not because I did not hear anything.

IR: So what is the state of internal democracy in the party when senior members like you who speak out are harassed or beaten up?

EM: Those are the issues I raised in my letter. Democracy is no longer there and we need to refocus ourselves. We need to go back to the drawing board and try to bring back those crucial values so that they cascade down to the people. This party was formed to bring about democracy in the country and we cannot deliver until we start practising it ourselves. I stated that in my letter. The MDC is a democratic party and we are drifting away from those principles.

IR: Who do you think is behind the violence in the party?

EM: Attacks in the party are sanctioned by some people from fairly high levels because I am told there were very senior members giving those thugs beer and food.

IR: What is the leadership’s stance on intra-party violence?

EM: There are two things that you look at in people: what they say and what they do. I am keen on what they do. We should not be seen preaching non-violence only, but we should also practise it.

IR: Given these violent events, can the MDC carry Zimbabwe forward? Can it bring democracy and can it win the 2018 elections?

EM: I did put that in my letter. For us to carry this nation forward, we need renewal in the party. Without it then we will remain a perpetual opposition party that has no solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. My whole paper is on the party’s preparedness for the next election. Let’s have new leadership with enough time to prepare. That can be done through an early congress.
IR: Does this mean the party is divided into factions and are we likely to see another split of the MDC?

EM: I do not regard the party as being factional and I do not agree that there are factions in the MDC. I also want to make it clear the party is not going to split. It is the MDC philosophy that we bring ideas on the table and discuss. The MDC has allowed debate over the issue of leadership renewal and the majority view is the one that will ultimately carry the day.

IR: Will you continue to call for leadership renewal after the violence on you?

EM: I did put my views in writing and signed and told the president that I mean it. I will stand by my position. I believe in that and others can add or subtract but those are my views.

IR: So, who should take over from Tsvangirai in your view?

EM: It is up to the people to decide. We are a democratic party and people can offer themselves for the leadership posts, those that are selected can then represent the party.

IR: Will that be possible because in Tsvangirai the MDC created a brand?

EM: A brand exists up to a certain period. We can always create another brand the same way we did. In America, (US President) Barack Obama is a brand but it is known the brand will live up to a certain time and another one will be created. The MDC is a people’s project not individuals.

IR: As the deputy treasurer of the party, will you continue to fundraise after this violence?

EM: I have a constitutional duty to perform and this harassment cannot stop me from doing that. We are in a struggle.

IR: What is your response to allegations that you failed to disburse funds to Tsvangirai soon after elections?

EM: I don’t know who is making those allegations. The president knows the situation in the party and if it is him then he can be answerable. I presented the financial statement to the standing committee and everyone is aware of our financial position. We disbursed funds every time it was necessary subject to availability.

23 thoughts on “Mangoma speaks on violence in MDC-T”

  1. Mduduzi says:

    MDC under Tsvangirai is just another Zanu

    1. Boorangoma says:

      I agree with you totally, Mduduzi. It’s good that we have members like Elton Mangoma who have taken it upon themselves to stare the intraparty dictator straight into the face without blinking. More members must come out of their closets and challenge Morgan’s leadership style!

  2. TM says:

    When Tsvangirai stopped why did Mangoma keep on walking if he did not go straight into the mouths of hyenas? To Mangoma’s many supporters here especially the educated ones, addressing a wrong wrongly does not make anything better. Mangoma should have used provisions in the MDC constitution to ask for change. If he got >50% support of elective party structures, then Tsvangirai had no reason to hang in there. Tsvangirai has to face congress without tampering with existing party structures that is if he has a loophole to do so. The issue of terms should be requested. The MDC needs to understand that its President might not necessarily be its presidential candidate meaning Mangoma may become president and Tsvangi candidate. kkkkk otherwise in all mdc mess this ZANU PF has emerged victorious again

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  4. isaac says:

    Mr Tsvangirai has played his part in the democratisation of zimbabwe.He must step down to give others a chance to remove Zanu pf from power. unless he wants to be another Mugabe

  5. Patriot says:

    Kkkkkkk regai vaMugabe vaende havo kuholiday, basa vakapedza kare. Why should MDC members call for the resignation or retirement of President Mugabe and at the same time defend bringing in a fresh leader in their own party. Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai is a brand and so is Comrade Mugabe. If Mugabe must go then why not Morgan. This is only the beginning regai tione hedu isu.

  6. Oh my dear, who negotiated entering the GNU and what was implemented? There is no problem of leadership renewal but the same characters who negotiated entry into the gnu think they have now aquired political leadership to deal with compromised judges, ZEC, brute security services coupled with SADC conivance. So the voter’s roll unavailed to Morhan wil now and then be given to Mangoma. 2005 split was bad and very unfortunate but where are and how far did AGO, Welshman, Sikhala go in addition to Makoni DD. There is no problem/s with academic degrees but the toll order is getting votes, leadership and recognition from poor villagers that they can trust mangoma against entranched Mugabe, and Zanoids with all the machineries and zvic/anaries of election rigging. morgan is no angel but once beaten in March 2008 they did all they could to remain in the driving seat with the help of Mbeki. Anyone else besides morgan there won’t be any need to hide the voter’s roll, plus the real leaders to take us to a true democratic land are just quet, who has the political charisma of Morgan currently when we face an entranched dictatorship supported by SADC and the AU we remain in a mess big time.

    1. Tshiki says:

      Well said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. N'ombe says:

        Well said Nyati. Mangoma wants to behave like a messiah yet he knows very well what zanu is made of. He was part of the gnu and yet he puts the blame on Morgan. What did he do to change things during that period? He must step down first to show that he is a true democrat and let others take over his post. Mangoma will never rise to become president of the party let alone deputy. He is being used by some cowards to push Morgan out but what he does not know is Morgan is the face of the people ie the downtrodden. Professors do not command any respect from general populace the way Tsvangirai does. Where is Ncube and Madhuku? Some of the top guys in MDC will be trounced by zanu even if they were to contest elections in their own rural areas. Congress is coming in 2016 so Mangoma and co. must get ready to challenge Tsvangirai.

  7. mangomangaatsve says:

    Is Mangoma a politician or what? So Mangoma wanted the president to escourt him from the angry youths.Why did Mangoma proceed when the president stopped?It is known that politics is a dangerous game, and beware to be victim Mr Mangoma. Some time long back when the chimurenga was on its pick, do you remember we beat the wife of the late Army Commander Josiah Tongogara following her refusal to to provide us cooking pots to use in the bush. So in a chimurenga you dont just behave in a way inotoshamisa macomrades unorohwa. Waizonyora tsamba hauzivi kuti tine congress muna 2016.

    1. Boorangoma says:

      Come on, we are now in the 21st century. Politics need not be a dangerous game. We can have differences of opinion without necessarily roughing each other up. The fact that you are evoking unfortunate episodes during Chimurenga II (that occurred way back in the 20th century) is ample evidence that you need re-education so that you fit in the modern Zimbabwean society. We are not at war for Christ’s sake. We need to read Mangoma’s letter and address all the problems Elton raised rather than engage in sophistry.

  8. Gondo says:

    I don’t think it’s fair for Mangoma to point all his fingers at Tsvangirai for all the failures in the MDC. Instead of only calling for Tsvangirai’s resignation he (Mangoma) should have resigned first and ask Tsvangirai to follow suit. Tsvangirai does not run MDC alone and even during the tenure of the Inclusive Government, people like Mangoma himself held Cabinet positions and he should definitely share the blame. Isn’t this a case where ‘kettle is calling pot black’ ?

  9. wamaromo says:

    My personal opinion is Mangoma had this all planned just to pin MT, Imagine mr Edito and all here if I say in front of a ZanuPf youths ‘Pasi na Mugabe’ what happens? Mangoma’s plan was to discredit MT and what better way to do it. MT stopped, he knowing MT was his shield he should have stopped too. But that was not his plan because this story would not have seen the light of the day. As much as we may want Morgan to go but why would Mangoma write to him and the press when they have meetings almost every week? He should have raised his points in meetings not to be like a school kid. MT may have his ills but Mangoma made a lot out of it we now know what we have in the MDC a bunch of saboteurs.

  10. magame says:

    LM Nyathi sums up the situation brilliantly. No one can win any election with the zec rg office cio judiciary set up. Blaming Morgan implies zanu pf won fair and square and we all know this is not true. Mangoma and other contenders can do very well to market themselves by telling zimbabwe how they intend to deal with these issues. With the corruption revelations zanu pf is as we speak going five gears up in instituting more daring rigging measures come 2018.

    As a new strategy the mdcs and other opposition members should instead team up and mobilise the people to demonstrate against the theft which has been going on for the past 34 years.

  11. wamaromo says:

    Thank you for this interview I now have an insight of what this Mangoma was up to. They had issues when they were in GNU and some reported some not so he says and he seems to point a fingure at others not himself. Tsvangirayi failed to stop the youths but he tried so mangoma should have stayed inside. He had a torn shirt not bleeding from where nhai Mangoma asi wakazotorwa ma picture wageza? Editor ukarohwa nevanhu say kana 3 chaivo unozvimba face yose iyi ask Chamisa.

  12. Boorangoma says:

    Well said, Elton Mangoma. You seem to be a very sober and very intelligent democrat. We need more fellows like you. This struggle needs people who are morally upright and courageous. You seem to fit the bill!

  13. chokwadi says:

    The violence was stage managed. Kubvarurirwa shirt pamhomho, trousers kana kunzwi zvako, pen yoramba iri mushirt pocket???? No blood???? Ko violence yacho yakazopera sei??? Ko zvakaona kuti MT has failed to disperse e crowd akazobudirei???? How dd he expect munhu atadza kuti mhomho iende azogona kumudefender??? There ar many questions. Bt y doesn’t he n others singing MT must go not saying let’s all go??? They’re all culpable

  14. mangomangaatsve says:

    Boorangoma, on paper politics shouldnt be dangerous but ukapinda mundima macho ndipo paunozoona kuti zvakaoma remember kuti others have lost their wifes through mysterious accidents but up now they are still hoping to be the president one day.

  15. Mberengwa says:

    Mangoma? Anebasa rei mumusangano? Chero vanhu gumi chaivo vangauya pa rally pake? Asi haazive kuti Munhu iyeye waanoda asiye akabva ano ataura pamberi pezvuru nezvuru zvevanhu weekend yacho iyoyo? Ngaati bvire apa tichamubvisa zvedu 2016

  16. j mujenge says:

    yet another opposition party is dead

  17. Muporofita says:

    You want kuti Tsvangirai aende. Iwe wosara ? Why ?

  18. Mangoma what democracy are you talking about when 210 districts chairpersons never supported yo foolish idears insteady they all endosed Morgan is not that democracy ? or democracy only works when it favours you .Bye bye Mangoma you have dug yourself a political grave.

  19. musoni says:

    Tsvangirayo anogobva kuti akambotonga here? You can be an opposition leader all your coz there are no benefits but kurohwa chete.

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