Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Harvest House saga: The facts (Tamborinyoka Statement)

By Luke Tamborinyoka

Contrary to mistruths and inaccurate information being peddled in the media, President Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday rescued deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and Secretary-General Hon. Tendai Biti from a tense crowd outside Harvest House. 

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and his spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka (right)
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and his spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka (right)

Lost in the convoluted media narratives on the event are several important facts.

Firstly, an impression is being created that President Tsvangirai was complicit in the alleged violence and did not do anything to assist the situation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The President came down the building after an eight-hour robust and deliberative leadership meeting with all district chairpersons from across the country and addressed restive party supporters, imploring upon them to desist from harassing any member of the party.

He told the tense and restive crowd outside harvest House that there had been a frank and robust discussion with the grassroots leaders of the party on the national and internal party issues. He said there had been agreement and consensus by everyone on the way forward for both the party and the country.

Then the party president’s security staff took Mr. Mangoma to Mr Tsvangirai’s car, where some youths yanked his shirt as they tried to pull him out of the vehicle. They were demanding an explanation as to why Mr Mangoma was seeking to remove the President outside the democratic forum of a Congress.

The party leader’s driver and security personnel drove him in his official car to Mr Tsvangirai’s house in Highlands. The driver and security personnel returned to fetch Mr Tsvangirai. Realising there appeared to be danger for Hon. Biti the President took the party secretary-general in his car to his house where they found Mr Mangoma with a tattered shirt.

Upon arrival at his house with Hon. Biti, the party president asked Mr Mangoma what had happened to him, to which he said somebody had yanked his shirt as they attempted to pull him out of the party leader’s car outside Harvest House.

As for Mr Biti, contrary to media reports, he left with the President and was never assaulted. The picture of Mr Mangoma in his tattered shirt standing under a tree, which is being widely circulated on social media sites, was taken just outside the MDC president’s house where he had been whisked by the party leader’s security personnel.

Hon. Biti and Mangoma then left Mr Tsvangirai’s house and the next thing we saw were pictures in the media and other social sites. For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Tsvangirai has clean hands and a pure heart. He has never believed and will not believe in violence. He has no blood in his hands. He is a democrat who does not believe in both violence and hostile take-overs.

By way of emphasis, the youth who yanked Mr Mangoma’s shirt has to face the music and investigations are continuing on the issue.

Mr Tsvangirai restates his position that violence is never tolerated in the MDC; a party which has always been the victim, and not the perpetrator, of political violence in this country. President Tsvangirai unreservedly condemns all acts of violence, of which he has personally always been a victim.

The role Mr Tsvangirai played to ensure the safety of the senior leaders of the party has been lost in the media madness of the moment. Instead, he is being portrayed not as a saviour but as having been complicit in this needless and senseless act.

These diversionary matters must be dealt with so that national attention reverts back to the key issues facing the people of Zimbabwe.

Luke Tamborinyoka

Presidential spokesperson

Movement for Democratic Change