Tsvangirai axes ‘reckless’ officials
More heads are likely to roll this week as the MDC-T plans to act on more
“foul-mouthed” officials that made statements deemed to be against party
Several senior party officials confirmed in interviews with NewsDay
yesterday that a crackdown was looming and that heads would roll.
The officials who spoke in confidence said the clampdown, which started last
week with deputy spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo being demoted for advocating
for the decriminalisation of commercial sex work, was now targeting three
legislators — Eddie Cross (Bulawayo South MP), Sithembile Mlotshwa (Matobo
Senator) and Morgan Femai (Chikomo Senator).
Cross also serves as the party’s policy coordinator.
Although MDC-T national spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora yesterday confirmed
the crackdown, he declined to name those likely to face the axe.
“I can confirm that we are looking at incidences where there are allegations
raised against officials emanating from what they are alleged to have said
or done,” said Mwonzora.
“The party stands for certain well-known values and these include integrity,
decency and respect of culture and religious beliefs of Zimbabwe. Our
officials are to abide, to follow and respect the values that have been
developed over the years. If they don’t, the party will take disciplinary
action,” he said.
“What we are doing is that we are looking at each case individually, like
the circumstances under which these utterances were made. For example, where
others were joking and there happened to have been a journalist, it’s
different when a policy pronouncement is made,” he said.
The impeccable sources told NewsDay yesterday that the party leadership was
not happy with recent utterances made by senior party officials, among them
Cross, Mlotshwa and Femai.
Cross, on his website, recently insinuated that Zimbabweans would deal with
Zanu PF hardliners and army generals once the MDC-T got into power.
“Under such circumstances the temptation to take the law into their own
hands would simply be too great for the people of this country who have
suffered at the hands of the Zanu PF hierarchy; it would be payback time. In
my view most of the leaders of Zanu PF would be well advised to leave the
country for their own safety,” wrote Cross in his article — “A warning to
His statements were viewed as implying that Tsvangirai would unleash
retributive action against Zanu PF sympathisers once elected into office.
Femai caused a stir recently when he allegedly said women should avoid
looking attractive as a way of curbing the spread of HIV and Aids.
He was quoted in the media as saying women should dress shabbily, sport bald
heads and lose weight to reduce their attractiveness.
The senator allegedly said this at a workshop for Parliamentarians in
Kadoma. He, however, later said he had been joking to lighten the atmosphere
in the seminar and that he had been surprised to find that published in
Mlotshwa, the MDC-T Senator for Matobo, also stirred a storm when she said
people should have sex once a month and that men should be injected with
drugs that reduce their libido.
She also called for prisoners to be given sex toys to satisfy their sexual
appetite. Khumalo made headlines when she called for the decriminalisation
of commercial sex work and promised to assist commercial sex workers form a
“It is here to stay and we should bite the bullet. Pleasure engineering did
not begin in Bulawayo or Zimbabwe but in the Garden of Eden and one of those
pleasure engineers was Eve,” Khumalo was quoted as saying.
She has become the latest victim of the MDC-T purge after she was demoted
from her post of deputy spokesperson. She has not yet been reassigned. She
said she respected her “redeployment” but accused the media of
sensationalising her comments on prostitution.
“The party is restructuring according to the letter that I received. It’s
not about what I feel personally. I chose to be a member of the party and
obviously there are leaders, “she said.