Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly flown to the United States ostensibly to try to win the
confidence of his party’s sponsors who are clamouring for leadership change in the party.
Mr Tsvangirai, according to sources seeks to meet the people who were mesmerised by secretary general Mr Tendai Biti who went on a charm offensive during his visit to the US last month.
The MDC-T leader, re-elected at a fiery congress in Bulawayo last year, has been under pressure from the party’s Western sponsors who have long expressed reservations about his intellect and leadership qualities.
Mr Biti is believed to have courted the MDC-T’s Western backers during a recent whirlwind tour of the US.
He is said to have successfully presented what has now come to be known as a “highly successful and impressionable” presentation to an American think tank, the Atlantic Council.
Mr Biti — who also met the movers and shakers in the US government — successfully presented party programmes to the MDC-T’s handlers upstaging Mr Tsvangirai who should do that in his capacity as party president.
Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka said his boss was on a private visit finishing his “annual break” which he had cut short because of a mysterious leg injury.
The spokesperson said the PM was accompanied by his fiancée, Ms Elizabeth Macheka.
Mr Tsvangirai engaged Ms Macheka in Harare a fortnight ago.
Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said Mr Tsvangirai informed President Mugabe of his US journey.
He, however, said the PM told the President that he was accompanying his newly wedded son Edwin and his wife.
“Yes indeed the PM advised the President that he was leaving for the US. He said he was accompanying his newly-wedded son and his daughter-in-law. Vakati vari kuperekedza vana kuAmerica,” he said.
Impeccable sources, however, said Mr Tsvangirai’s trip was an attempt to outdo Mr Biti’s presentation in America.
“The idea is to checkmate the inroads made by (Mr) Biti during his visit. It is unheard of that a father-in-law accompanies a daughter-in-law to a honeymoon. It’s a taboo.
“Equally, it is very unconventional that the PM who engaged two weeks ago goes for honeymoon before marriage.
“Engagements themselves are not triggers to honeymoon but precursors to marriage so the trip is primarily political — to checkmate (Mr) Biti — and secondarily to try and fundraise for the MDC-T ahead of general elections,” said the source.
While in the US, it is understood that Mr Tsvangirai would meet some American business people whom he thinks might bankroll his party’s election campaign.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Professor Lovemore Madhuku recently revealed that Western governments wanted the MDC-T to be led by an academic.
Prof Madhuku said Western ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe approached him to assist them find a suitable candidate to succeed Mr Tsvangirai.
In his presentation to the Atlantic Council, Mr Biti asserted himself not only as a Zimbabwean national leader, but a “paramount” continental leader. He also portrayed Mr Tsvangirai as a mere face of the “MDC-T struggle” that relied on other people for intellectual advice and strategies.