via Tsvangirai meets faction leaders | The Herald 5 December 2014 by George Maponga
Embattled MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday reportedly met members of two warring party factions in Masvingo where he read the riot act as he tries to salvage the waning fortunes of his party.The MDC-T has been hit by a damaging split after losing dismally in last year’s July 31 harmonised elections to President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
The MDC-T is divided into two factions that have been battling for dominance in Masvingo and other provinces, with one camp in Masvingo reportedly aligned to provincial chairman and trade unionist Mr James Gumbi, while another is believed to be behind businessman Mr Bernard Chiondegwa.
Party sources said the alleged bad blood between the two leaders was sparked by a bitter fight for the chairmanship of Masvingo in the run up to the MDC-T elective congress held in October and dismissed by many as a damp squid.
Mr Tsvangirai allegedly read the riot act to the warring factions during a party executive meeting held at the MDC-T provincial headquarters in the plush Rhodene suburb which was closed to the media, with entry by party members subject to strict vetting.
The meeting was disguised as a capacity building and induction seminar for new officials who were elected at the party’s congress.
Sources said Mr Tsvangirai was peeved by continued infighting along factional lines by senior officials in Masvingo who are accused of threatening efforts to revive the party’s fortunes and mount a strong challenge to Zanu-PF in the future.
“The truth of the matter is that Tsvangirai read the riot act to senior party officials for continued in-fighting which he said was detrimental to the survival of MDC-T in Masvingo, especially after the heavy defeat by Zanu-PF in the last elections,” said an MDC-T senior official who refused to be named.
“At the moment there is total paralysis in the party in Masvingo because of factional fighting pitting Chiondegwa and Gumbi and the situation has caused widespread disillusionment among the rank and file of the party.’’
Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka said his boss was in Masvingo as part of a whirlwind tour of all the party’s provinces to explain duties and roles to those ushered into office at the just ended congress.
“He is addressing party leaders on the direction the MDC-T is going to take following resolutions which came out of congress,” he said.