Mozam­bi­can rebel leader re­veals Ts­van­gi­rai ties

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tichaona Zin­doga Harare Bureau

MOZAM­BI­CAN rebel leader Afonso Dh­lakama, who has been fight­ing the gov­ern­ment in a bloody civil war that has lasted close to four decades, has re­vealed that he is friends with Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai of the op­po­si­tion MDC-T in Zim­babwe.

Mr Dh­lakama re­vealed this in an in­ter­view with a Mozam­bi­can news­pa­per Sa­vana, as he re­jected a power shar­ing agree­ment that has been pro­posed by the rul­ing party, Fre­limo, that would see him as­sume the po­si­tion of vice pres­i­dent.

Ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per, one time a mem­ber of the rul­ing party, Mr Dh­lakama says “to be vice pres­i­dent sig­ni­fies be­ing Fre­limo again.”

“Also, he doesn’t want to hap­pen to him, ‘what hap­pened to my friend Ts­van­gi­rai, who even­tu­ally dis­ap­peared,’” said the pa­per.

Mr Ts­van­gi­rai be­came Prime Min­is­ter of Zim­babwe in the in­clu­sive Gov­ern­ment be­tween 2009 and 2013.

He and his party lost the sub­se­quent elec­tions of July 31, 2013 as Zanu-PF romped to over two-thirds ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment while Ts­van­gi­rai lost dis­mally to Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe by a mar­gin of 34 per­cent to 61 per­cent of the votes cast.

Con­tacted for com­ment on the na­ture of re­la­tions be­tween MDC-T and Re­n­amo, MDC-T spokesman Mr Obert Gutu pro­fessed ig­no­rance on the na­ture of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween his boss and Mr Dh­lakama.

“Of course, I will not be able to know all pres­i­dent Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai’s per­sonal friends and ac­quain­tances. He is en­ti­tled to have his own pri­vate space, just like any other in­di­vid­ual.”

Mr Ts­van­gi­rai has in the past vis­ited Mozam­bique to in­ter­act with his op­po­si­tion coun­ter­part.

Since 2000 he has met Mr Dh­lakama a num­ber of times.

The most sig­nif­i­cant of these in­ter­ac­tions came in April 2008, af­ter the elec­tions of March that year when Mr Ts­van­gi­rai can­vassed for re­gional sup­port.

The visit is con­firmed by Wik­iLeaks in a leaked US cable dated April 23, 2008.

It says, “The visit was per­son­ally co­or­di­nated by the leader of Mozam­bique’s op­po­si­tion party Re­n­amo, Afonso Dh­lakama, who ar­ranged for Ts­van­gi­rai to meet with for­mer pres­i­dent Joaquim Chissano and cur­rent pres­i­dent Ar­mando Gue­buza.”

The cable says Mr Dh­lakama told the press on April 24 that he ad­vised Mr Ts­van­gi­rai that Chissano could only get in­volved in find­ing a so­lu­tion for Zim­babwe if the heads of state of Sadc re­quested that he do so while Pres­i­dent Gue­buza had not yet com­mented on the content of his meet­ing with Mr Ts­van­gi­rai.

The cable con­cludes: “. . . Ts­van­gi­rai did him­self no favours . . . by so pub­licly . . . align­ing him­self with Re­n­amo’s leader Dh­lakama. Al­ways the op­por­tunist, Dh­lakama took the spot­light dur­ing Ts­van­gi­rai’s visit, po­si­tion­ing him­self as a se­nior me­di­a­tor who is work­ing to en­sure re­gional democ­racy.”

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