via Tsvangirai fear grips Zanu PF – DailyNews Live by Margaret Chinowaita 6 APRIL 2014
Political temperatures are rising again in Zimbabwe amid worsening factionalism in Zanu PF, as well as renewed and inexplicable pressure being exerted on MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai by authorities.
While factional interests within President Robert Mugabe’s party have simmered mostly out of the public glare over the past decade or so, they have burst into the open with a frightening pace since Zanu PF’s disputed victory in last year’s harmonised elections.
At the same time, there appears to be renewed and as yet obscure interest by authorities to pressurise and “kill off” Tsvangirai politically.
The latest incident was the alleged barring of the opposition leader yesterday from visiting Tokwe-Mukorsi flood victims who are camped at Chingwizi.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the MDC leader was due to visit the Chingwizi holding camp this week, to interact with the people and to give some assistance to the victims of the humanitarian crisis.
However, the Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, allegedly told the MDC leader’s emissaries that Tsvangirai would not be allowed to interact with the people at the camp.
“Bhasikiti said if the MDC leader had anything to give the people he ought to leave it at the government’s provincial offices in Masvingo where it would be taken to Triangle and then distributed to the beneficiaries,” Tamborinyoka said yesterday.
But Bhasikiti expressed surprise at the assertion, adding mystery to the saga.
“That cannot be true,” Bhasikiti told the Daily News, adding, “I received a call through my secretary that the former Prime Minister wanted to make a visit and a donation to the people at Chingwizi. I had a programme but I deferred it and decided to wait for Tsvangirai.
I viewed this as a noble and important visit but the former PM’s office called to say they would not make it tomorrow because their truck was not ready.
“They said they would make it on Tuesday next week. Perhaps they had nothing and they assumed that they would be barred. It is not true that they have been banned.”
Bhasikiti said there was no way he could bar donations of food that was fast running out in the camp.
“We do not have enough food for this month,” Bhasikiti said. “We are appealing for mealie-meal which is running out by Friday next week. We are facing starvation in the camp if food supplies are not donated or provided soon.”
The Masvingo provincial minister reiterated that he would welcome the former PM to Chingwizi to receive his donation.
However, Tamborinyoka was adamant that Bhasikiti did not want Tsvangirayi in Chingwizi.
“It is shocking that a whole government would bar the former prime minister of the country and the leader of a party in Parliament from seeing for himself the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis, and interacting with the victims,” he said.
“As a party, Zanu PF is so used to partisan distribution of food that they may want to misrepresent all assistance to the unfortunate victims as coming from Zanu PF.
“There is absolutely no reason why president Tsvangirai would be barred from visiting and interacting with the people at Chingwizi unless the government’s provincial leadership wants to politicise this unfortunate humanitarian crisis and peddle all assistance as coming from Zanu PF. It is patently criminal to take advantage of a national disaster for political capital.
“For president Tsvangirai, however, human life is more important than politics. He will be taking his assistance, including food and blankets, to the provincial office because this is a humanitarian crisis demanding our attention as Zimbabweans, regardless of our political affiliation,” Tamborinyoka added.
The families are living in tents that are closely pitched, raising a risk of an outbreak of communicable diseases. Some families with more than 10 people are living in a single tent, amid worrying reports of cases of sex for food.
Political analyst Shepard Mntungwa said last night that there was a clear move by Zanu PF and the State to destroy Tsvangirai politically “once and for all”.
“If you look at the heightened and negative State media press against Tsvangirai and how there have been sustained State attempts to shore up the lesser than stellar efforts of the MDC’s rebels to dislodge him
(Tsvangirai) from the leadership of his party, it becomes obvious that the war drums against him are beating harder.
“The only thing that is not clear is why the authorities are doing this at a time that the MDC leader is short of resources and is not looking particularly strong. One can only surmise that the idea is to divert national attention from the ever-worsening economic crisis facing the country, and obviously some hawks feeling that this is the best time to finish him (Tsvangirai) off once and for all,” he said.
Meanwhile, about 123 tonnes of food is needed monthly to feed the 2 800 households at Chingwizi, with aid agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP) yet to secure the required funding.
Over 60 000 villagers in the area were affected after torrential rains caused the partial collapse of the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam wall. The dam is being built by an Italian company, Salini, with funding from the government and is expected to provide irrigation to the local communal area of Chivi, which is vulnerable to recurrent food shortages due to the area’s low rainfall.