Mugove Tafirenyika 15 January 2018
HARARE – Top hawks in the MDC have scaled up a campaign to discredit and
muzzle Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson on allegations of abandoning his
Luke Tamborinyoka, the spokesperson for the MDC leader, stands accused of
taking sides in the battle to succeed the former prime minister in the
unity government (2009 – 2013) who is battling cancer of the colon by
speaking on behalf a faction led by one of Tsvangirai’s three deputies,
Nelson Chamisa, who is considered the former trade unionist’s heir
Following Tsvangirai’s statement last week in which he hinted that he was
considering retiring and handing over power to a younger leader,
Tamborinyoka has been under the cosh for releasing the statement from the
likes of MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, spokesperson Obert Gutu
and Ian Makone, a senior official in the party.
Gutu and Mwonzora are believed to be backing Thokozani Khupe, Tsvangirai’s
longest serving deputy, in the race to succeed Tsvangirai.
Tamborinyoka is being accused of taking advantage of the MDC leader’s
illness to peddle falsehoods under the guise of speaking on behalf of his
It has been a dog-eat-dog affair in the MDC, since Tsvangirai sanctioned
the release of the statement by his spokesperson as jostling for his
position became open and brazen.
Chamisa along with the other MDC vice presidents Elias Mudzuri and Khupe
have since declaring their interests in the post in the event that
Tsvangirai becomes incapacitated.
Meanwhile, Mwonzora and company, according to MDC insiders, have hatched a
plan to discredit Tsvangirai’s purported statement as false by issuing a
counter statement with the help of one of Tsvangirai’s brothers, Collins.
The counter-statement, which was allegedly penned at Makone’s property in
the capital, transfers Tamborinyoka’s responsibility to speak for
Tsvangirai to acting MDC president, Mudzuri, albeit without the former
Prime Minister’s blessings.
While Gutu was not taking calls, Makone refused to respond to the
allegations that he was behind the statement saying, “I don’t speak to
journalists, thank you”.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mwonzora said he was elected
overwhelmingly to be secretary-general of the MDC and not for any other
Concerning the family letter, Mwonzora said he was not aware of it
“because I don’t speak for the Tsvangirais. I fully respect them and their
Mwonzora said it was premature to discuss Tsvangirai’s succession.
He said: “I now that there is no vacancy for president in my party because
Tsvangirai is still there. I am an optimist and believe he will be well so
my dream is to serve in his government. I am not even thinking about
becoming president when he leaves because I think he is still around,” he
Collins confirmed that indeed they had come up with that decision without
“We agreed as a family that Mudzuri is the family spokesperson in this
matter. (Morgan) Tsvangirai is just one member of the family; he is not
the family so we can make decisions without one member and what we decide
as family is binding,” Collins said.
“Tamborinyoka remains his individual spokesperson and we came up with that
decision after we saw statements coming out that we did not understand so
Mudzuri speaks on behalf of the family,” he added.
MDC’s national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe also told the Daily
News that he was not happy with Tamborinyoka.
“He issued a controversial statement that cannot be verified because
Tsvangirai is not there to clarify,” Bhebhe who is aligned to the Khupe
“We would have loved a situation whereby Tsvangirai calls a press
conference to clarify the statement attributed to him but because of the
circumstances, that is not possible but we all know that any sick person
does not think straight hence we suspect that the statement did not
originate from him,” he added.
MDC insiders claimed yesterday that Tsvangirai was not happy with his
lieutenants’ treatment of Tamborinyoka who is believed to be very close to
Tamborinyoka’s mobile number was not reachable for him to clarify the
origins of the statement.
MDC insiders, however, alleged that Collins Tsvangirai acted unilaterally
when he issued the family statement.
“The statement was not even written by the family. It was only Collins who
was taken advantage of by people who are worried that the baton is about
to be handed to Chamisa so you will realise that the likes of Manase
(Tsvangirai’s other brother) were not part of that,” the source said.
“We know their plan is to muzzle Tamborinyoka so that he does not say what
Tsvangirai wants in its entirety because they know he doesn’t believe in
their abilities so they are out of the race.
“They hope that by getting rid of Tamborinyoka, they will have silenced MT
but the die is cast, the decision has been made and there is no going