Late MDC leader Tsvangirai 'tried to get Mugabe's backing': Mugabe ally

A spokesperson for a party linked to former president Robert Mugabe has alleged that the late Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai tried to get Mugabe's support ahead of the 2018 elections.

Jealousy Mawarire, of the National Patriotic Front, told online news site New Zimbabwe that Tsvangirai had sent his secretary general Douglas Mwonzora to Kenya in January to meet with Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao to facilitate a meeting with the former president. 

Swallowed his pride

Zhuwao, a former labour minister, has stayed out of Zimbabwe since November’s military takeover that deposed his uncle. 

“Faced with a Zanu-PF party which enjoyed massive support from Mashonaland provinces… the late opposition leader swallowed his pride and approached his bitter rival to ask him to rally support behind his bid to land the top job,” the report said.

Mawarire said Mwonzora was told there were conditions to receiving Mugabe’s support. These included recognising that Mugabe’s exit from power was a result of “a coup” and that the MDC should stop attacking Mugabe in public. 

Voted for Chamisa

“Mind you, some of them (MDC) had participated in the (anti-Mugabe) demonstrations and some of them were arguing that it was not a coup,” Mawarire is quoted as saying.

Mwonzora has not responded to Mawarire’s claim.

Tsvangirai died from cancer in February, and his successor Nelson Chamisa has denied any contact between himself and Mugabe since the former president was forced to resign.

A day before the July 30 poll, Mugabe held a press conference at which he said he would vote for Chamisa, and not those who had “tormented” him – a reference to his old party Zanu-PF, according to the Daily Telegraph.