Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed Zanu PF is coercing him to accept last year’s electoral outcome or he loses the government house he is staying in.
Tsvangirai told supporters in Birmingham, England, at the weekend, that there was a stalemate over a “national dialogue to unlock the country’s socio-political log-jam” after he dared Zanu PF to see through its threat to chuck him out of the plush house.
The former premier lost dismally to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in last year’s harmonised elections, but declined to accept defeat, alleging vote rigging.
“They (Zanu PF) have been threatening to take away the house. I told them to do it. I will go to Buhera with my young wife. In this age of technology we can manage from there,” Tsvangirai said to applause.
But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo scoffed at Tsvangirai’s claims, saying his party had no reason to seek “dialogue with losers”.
“It is all nonsense, if indeed he has been approached with such a stupid proposal, why doesn’t he mention the people or person who approached him,” said Gumbo.
“We do not need negotiations with the MDC or any other party that lost elections. In fact, we actually do not know where he is getting the idea that there will ever be negotiations. For what purpose would that be?”
Gumbo said Zanu PF had no time to listen to “hallucinations” and was concentrating on trying to fulfill its election campaign promises.
“We won (with) a two thirds majority at the polls and now need to implement our programmes. There is no need to even look at the MDC,” he said.
Tsvangirai claimed before his supporters that he still had popularity, while his political foes have state power.
“The thing is, I have popularity and Zanu PF has power. I have said power and popularity are different and now we have a stalemate. It is the same political paralysis. The only solution is to agree on an emerging national consensus for dialogue, but that dialogue cannot be conditional. We do not want that. I am never going to do that. We have to agree that you stole the elections; we go to the issue of economic plan and political reform, but in a manner which is going to be internationally acceptable,” he said.
Douglas Mwonzora, spokesperson of the faction led by Tsvangirai, said he was not aware that Zanu PF had put the matter of the house as a pre-condition to dialogue.
“We are aware that Zanu PF has asked the MDC to acknowledge its poll win as a pre-condition to dialogue,” said Mwonzora.
Quizzed on whether the ruling party had officially communicated that position, Mwonzora said: “Rugare Gumbo communicated that in the press, not directly to us. This does not mean though that I am saying what the president (Tsvangirai) is saying is a lie. I just do not know about that particular aspect regarding the house.
“There is a legal and contractual issue which should have nothing to do with the political matters in the country. Tsvangirai has rights that should be respected pertaining to the house.”
At the time he was serving as the country’s premier under a shaky arrangement sponsored by regional power broker Sadc, following a viciously contested electoral outcome in 2008, government bought a posh house for Tsvangirai in the leafy upmarket suburb of Highlands for about $700 000, but reports claim the figure ballooned to $4 million after renovations.
However, the purchase of the house has controversy surrounding it amid claims the MDC-T leader “double dipped” after receiving no less than $3 million from both treasury and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The matter is now part of a Constitutional Court application by ex-RBZ senior staffer, Munyaradzi Kereke who wants an order compelling authorities to investigate his former boss Gideon Gono on allegations of abuse of office.
Questions surrounding Tsvangirai as undisputed leader of the opposition party reached a crescendo early this year after deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma wrote a letter accusing the veteran trade unionist of “eating into the legacy of the party and his own” because of his behaviour, particularly the much publicised escapades with woman.
Tsvangirai has been visiting the United Kingdom, supposedly to address policy think-tank, Chatham House, but took time to meet his party structures as well as seek financial support for his floundering movement.