Zimbabwe government spokesman Nick Mangwana has accused Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa of taking advantage of the dead by lying that President Emmerson Mnangagwa entered into a pact with late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form a transitional authority.
Chamisa told a gathering at Tsvangirai’s memorial at his home in Buhera yesterday that Mnangagwa had betrayed Tsvangirai by backtracking on his promise to form a national transitional authority to secure the opposition’s backing to remove former President Robert Mugabe in 2017.
“Tsvangirai told me that ‘Chamisa, we are now going to help remove the poverty caused by Mugabe, but the assurance I have is that we are going to have a transitional authority’,” Chamisa said according to the Standard.
“I said to him, this was a good thing, but asked him if he was sure about the people he was dealing with and he said ‘let us give them time’. We gave them time and they betrayed my old man,” he said.
Mangwana, who is the Permanent Secretary for Information, tweeted today: “Claims of promises of a National Transition Authority during the interregnum are bl(u)nt and deliberate falsehoods. The position was always that the constitution was going to define how things were going to go, and it did. An NTA would have needed a constitutional amendment.”
According to NewZimbabwe.com, Mangwana accused Chamisa of using the memorial to score cheap political points.
“It is tragic that some would choose to score very cheap political points after snatching power at Tsvangirai’s funeral wake,” the online news site quoted Mangwana as saying.
“There was never a discussion regarding a transitional authority and all conversations including television interviews were on getting the transition by the obtaining provisions of the Constitution.
“Sadly we are in a polarised country, where some callous people will seek political dividend out of anything and everything.
“Let’s honour and celebrate Tsvangirai’s life without trying to milk every ounce of political advantage out of his legacy. This is unconscionable,” he said.
Mangwana said Mnangagwa and Tsvangirai never met before Mnangagwa’s inauguration on 24 November 2017.
“From the moment President Mnangagwa was sacked from government as Vice President, he did not make any contact with Tsvangirai up until he asked for him to be invited to his inauguration,” Mangwana said.
“However there was contact between ZANU-PF and Tsvangirai initially through Douglas Mwonzora and Murisi Zwizwai on one hand and Paul Mangwana on the other hand. This culminated in a meeting between these parties and Tsvangirai.
“When the issue of a bipartisan approach to impeaching Robert Mugabe was broached, Tsvangirai readily offered the MDC’s parliamentary support unconditionally and credit must be given to him for not trying to milk either personal or political capital from this.
“As conversations carried on, the issue of the Highlands House and his pension came up. It was then that ZANU-PF said they would advise the incoming President to look into those matters.
“President Mnangagwa came to power after being nominated both as interim ZANU-PF leader and national leader. He immediately honoured the principles of the conversations between the two parties and went way beyond in his efforts to detoxify Zimbabwe’s politics, building national consensus towards re-building the country. This is what culminated in his invitation to all political leaders to his inauguration and his subsequent visit to stricken Tsvangirai at his residence and two weeks later the State began meeting his medical bills as well as later all expenses related to his repatriation after his tragic demise.”
Chamisa who is vying to be substantive party leader at the party congress this month has been trying to convince his supporters that he was close to Tsvangirai yet the last party leader to meet and chat with Tsvangirai was Elias Mudzuri who visited Tsvangirai in hospital in South Africa.
Chamisa bulldozed himself to the party leadership hours after Tsvangirai’s death on 14 February.
Some disgruntled MDC supporters have gone to court to stop the party congress saying the party should hold an extra-ordinary congress to elect a new leader and not an ordinary congress.
Judgment is due on Wednesday.