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Tsvangirai buckles under pressure





MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has buckled under pressure and agreed to meet various party structures in the Matabeleland region to explain the nature of the MDC Alliance before its official launch in Bulawayo next month.

The party's secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, told NewsDay yesterday Tsvangirai would travel to Bulawayo earlier than initially expected.

"I have been advised by our organising department that the president [Tsvangirai] will meet our structures in the region [Matabeleland] before the launch of the MDC Alliance on September 2," Mwonzora said.

"As for the nature of the meetings, I am not sure yet.

"You would need to get finer details from our organiser [Abednico] Bhebhe or the president's spokesperson [Luke Tamborinyoka]."

Tsvangirai was endorsed as the leader of a coalition of seven opposition parties, which include Tendai Biti's People's Democratic Party (PDP) and Welshman Ncube's MDC.

However, questions remain on whether former Vice-President and National People's Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru will be part of the plan.

Barely a day after the announcement of the coalition was made at a rally in Harare last month, Tsvangirai's deputy Thokozani Khupe, MDC-T national chairperson Lovemore Moyo and Bhebhe, who did not attend the signing ceremony, were allegedly attacked by party youths, who accused them of plotting against Tsvangirai.

An inquiry is underway, but the victims pointed an accusing finger at Tsvangirai.

Khupe has not hidden her disdain for the coalition, arguing the MDC-T is strong enough to win on its own in Matabeleland and has instead said an alliance should be built in the Mashonaland provinces, where the party has often lost to Zanu-PF.

Moyo at the weekend ratcheted up pressure on Tsvangirai on the coalition issue, declaring the former Prime Minister owed the people of the region answers.

But Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai would not be answering any questions because he had the party's mandate.

"The president will travel to

the region for the alliance launch and might take advantage to engage provincial structures," he said.

"It has nothing to do with what the national chairman is reported to have said.

"I must categorically state that there is no going back on the issue of alliances.

"This stems from a congress resolution and was affirmed by the national council."

A senior opposition leader, who declined to be named, said Tsvangirai risked losing some support from the western parts of the country.

"By failing to listen to leaders from the region and bringing the Ncube-Biti axis, the MDC-T could actually lose more than gain," the official said.

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Tsvangirai buckles under pressure
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