Tsvangirai set me up: Mangoma
EMBATTLED MDC-T deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma yesterday accused party leader Morgan Tsvangirai of deliberately setting him up for attack by youths as they emerged from party headquarters Harvest House.
EVERSON MUSHAVA/MOSES MATENGA
Mangoma was bashed by party youths over the weekend following his call on the ex-Premier to step down. In an exclusive interview with NewsDay, Mangoma denied claims that Tsvangirai had rescued him from the marauding party youths.
The former Energy minister claimed that Tsvangirai dumped him and left him at the mercy of the youths despite an earlier agreement that the MDC-T leader would lead him to the safety of his official vehicle.
“He (Tsvangirai) led me to the slaughter. I was beaten straight in his face. He was supposed to take me to the car, but suddenly stopped when we were outside where I was beaten up. I bled and my eye-glasses were broken,” Mangoma said.
“I wonder why he is now lying. I don’t know what he wants to achieve, but what I know is the whole thing was planned.”
But, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka recused his boss from the alleged grand scheme, saying: “President Tsvangirai on Saturday rescued Mangoma and (secretary-general Tendai) Biti from a tense crowd outside Harvest House.”
Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai ordered the restive supporters to desist from violence contrary to reports that he was complicit.
“The party president’s security staff took Mangoma to Tsvangirai’s car, where some youths yanked his shirt as they tried to pull him out of the vehicle demanding an explanation as to why Mangoma was seeking to remove the president outside the democratic forum of a congress.”
Mangoma was taken to Tsvangirai’s house in Highlands.
“Realising there appeared to be danger for Biti, the president took the party secretary-general in his car to his house where they found Mangoma with a tattered shirt. As for Biti, contrary to media reports, he left with the president and was never assaulted. For the avoidance of doubt, Tsvangirai has clean hands and a pure heart,” Tamborinyoka said.
Mangoma yesterday maintained that he had been assaulted as Tsvangirai watched, adding that MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora had also issued a statement confirming the incident. Mwonzora in his statement acknowledged that Mangoma was assaulted, but blamed the attack on infiltration by Zanu PF.
Part of Mwonzora’s statement read: “We were, therefore, surprised when some people attacked Hon. Mangoma. It is clear that besides harming Hon. Mangoma, these yet-to-be identified people wanted to embarrass President Tsvangirai and the entire MDC party and portray them as intolerant.”
Mangoma shot back: “There is a contradiction here because if you look at it, Mwonzora acknowledged that I was attacked, so what has changed now? They agreed I was beaten by Zanu PF agents, now they say I wasn’t even beaten at all. Lies like this can’t be allowed at all.
“This was well planned because people had posters even in the meeting denouncing me and (former MDC MP) Job Sikhala had warned on his Facebook page that violence would be unleashed on those opposing Tsvangirai.
“These people should be ashamed that they beat up a disabled person, I don’t know what culture they are trying to build. They try to lie to cover up. This is very unfortunate.”
Sikhala yesterday confirmed the Facebook message.
“l warned people on my Facebook wall that anyone who wants to challenge Tsvangirai would be dealt with violently. Violence runs in the bloodstream of the MDC. The party is run by thugs,” he said.
Sources who attended the Saturday meeting where Tsvangirai summoned district chairpersons to Harvest House claimed that people were coached to speak openly against Mangoma during the stormy meeting with 210 district chairpersons accusing him of using money to oust Tsvangirai.
During the meeting captured on video, Mangoma was told that he was dishing out money to grassroots party members to entice them to denounce Tsvangirai.
“The reasons why the meetings were called shows they wanted to raise tempers. The chairpersons were taken to Adelaide Acres where they were booked and coached on what to say,” said a senior MDC-T member speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.