Top stories for April 26-30


Government and teachers on collision course- The government and teachers are headed for a collision following a unilateral decision by the Ministry of Education to ban incentives to teachers introduced in 2009 to keep them on the job. Education Minister Lazarus Dokora says his ministry sent out a circular scrapping the incentives but Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu said they had not received the circular. “There is no justification for their payment. Their payment is not consistent with the educational values they are meant to be servicing,” Dokora said according to The Herald. Ndlovu responded: “I have not gone through that circular but this reveals that the ministry is not transparent and intellectually honest. As stakeholders we should have been a participant. In the absence of that and as representatives of teachers, we will continue to deny the existence of that circular until we have a delivery of that in our hands as a union. We still hold on the 2009 circular number 5 that legalised incentives.”

Tsvangirai and Chamisa suspended from MDC
A faction of the Movement for Democratic Change led by secretary-general Tendai Biti today said it had suspended party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo, organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and information secretary Douglas Mwonzora. According to a statement circulated online the faction said Tsvangirai can no longer be considered as a democrat or comrade in this struggle. He “is clearly unsuitable and has disqualified himself as a fit and proper patriot with the legitimacy, credibility, ability, decency or honesty of leading and executing the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe”. The party was therefore being placed under the control and curatorship of Party elders and veterans in the Guardians Council who must run the party and prepare for Congress where members should be free to elect new leadership.


A bunch of confusionists and opportunists
Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Douglas Mwonzora, one of the top officials suspended yesterday together with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, today dismissed the suspension by a faction led by secretary-general Tendai Biti saying this was a bunch of “confusionists and opportunists”. And he blamed it all on the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. “All that happened yesterday is a culmination of an elaborate, covet project involving state security, ZANU-PF, Mugabe, Welshman Ncube and the few malcontents in the MDC to destabilise the MDC and to de-brand the party” Mwonzora said. “What Biti and company did was an awkward attempt at a coup d’état…the leadership of the MDC is decided by a congress.” Mwonzora said Biti has been summoned to a meeting of the National Standing Committee to explain his actions. Nine MPs attended Biti’s meeting. They were: Biti himself, Paul Madzore, Solomon Madzore, Moses Manyengavana, Willias Madzimure, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Bekithemba Nyathi, Evelyn Masaiti and Washy Sibanda. Though Tsvangirai continues to show he still has a huge following, observers say the party is headed for another split like that of 2005 when Welshman Ncube left with the majority of MPs.


MDC to hold congress this year
The troubled Movement for Democratic Change is likely to hold its congress, at which a new leadership will be elected, this year instead of in 2016, party president Morgan Tsvangirai said today. It is not clear whether this is a change of heart following pressure on him to step down or it was agreed by the party but Tsvangirai told an international news agency today: “Those wanting leadership change can do so at the party’s congress later this year, through the proper channels.” The faction calling for leadership renewal has been calling for an early congress to elect a new leadership but Tsvangirai has been resisting the move. Party spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, who is in Tsvangirai’s camp, hinted last month that the congress could be held in December if the party raises the funds to do so. If not, the congress would be held in March, which is still a year ahead of schedule. A faction led by secretary-general Tendai Biti suspended the party leadership on Saturday, but this has since been declared null and void. The party now seems headed for an imminent split which might render the congress useless. When the party split in 2005, the two factions held separate congresses with the Welshman Ncube faction bringing in a rank outsider, Arthur Mutambara to lead the party. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is also scheduled to hold its congress this year and could elect a new leadership to take over from President Robert Mugabe.


Tsvangirai Biti showdown today
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai is headed for a showdown with his secretary-general Tendai Biti today. They will no longer be together after the national executive meeting today as the party’s standing committee decided yesterday to expel Biti and those who met with him on Saturday and suspended party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and several senior executive members including vice-president Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo, organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora among others. Biti and his group which included nine Members of Parliament suspended Tsvangirai because he was no longer capable of leading a democratic party. Tsvangirai’s group argues that Biti and his group had no powers to suspend senior members of the party. They are also threatening to expel all MPs that attended the meeting. The showdown will mean an open split of the party, but either way, this will be the end of Tsvangirai. Even if his faction supports him now, it is not clear whether they can endorse him to remain leader at this year’s congress as he has already served more than two terms. The split can only work in the favour of organising secretary Nelson Chamisa who some have said has presidential ambitions for 2018.


Tsvangirai gives himself five months to sort out MDC mess
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai today gave himself five months to sort out the mess within his party by calling for a congress in October. The MDC has been rocked by internal squabbles over whether Tsvangirai should continue to lead the party after a third failed attempt to become the country’s president. Tsvangirai insists that he has never been beaten by Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe, but the reality is different. The only time Tsvangirai won was in March 2008 but he was outmanoeuvred by Mugabe and accepted the junior post of Prime Minister. The current split with secretary-general Tendai Biti on one side and Tsvangirai on the other has divided the party along two power that cannot do without the other. Tsvangirai has the people. Biti has the money. But having dragged each other through the dirt so far with Biti suspending Tsvangirai on Saturday and Tsvangirai expelling Biti today, this could mark an irreparable split that could see the two factions holding parallel congresses in October. Five months is not too long to wait. The problem is can Tsvangirai pull through? He has more to lose than Biti.


Biti faction not attending Tsvangirai congress
The Movement for Democratic Change faction loyal to secretary-general Tendai Biti will not attend the October congress that has been called for by the faction led by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai claiming that Tsvangirai has no authority to call the congress because he was suspended. The Biti faction suspended Tsvangirai and most of the leaders on Saturday but the Tsvangirai faction fired Biti and his group on Tuesday. Each group is currently claiming to be the legitimate MDC. “Whatever they have done is null and void,” Elton Mangoma, who was fired first for calling on Tsvangirai to step down. “We are going to effect the resolutions that were made by the proper national council at Mandel.” Mangoma’s lawyer and spokesman for the new group, Jacob Mafume said: “As far as their congress is concerned, isn’t it strange that after making sure that he has terrorised everyone who wanted to challenge him, he now says let us go to congress? Unfortunately, we will not go into any contestation whose outcome is predetermined.”


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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