Zimbabwe Opposition Leader
Sources among civil society activists report that there is growing discontentment with the leadership provided by opposition political leader Morgan Tsvangirai, founder of the Movement for Democratic Change and head of one of its two factions.
Tsvangirai has been put on the defensive in his own party by the extremely negative response at the grass roots level to last month's dismissal of Lucia Matibenga as the chairwoman of his opposition formation's women's assembly and her replacement with Theresa Makone, wife of the faction's director of elections, Ian Makone.
The MDC had already alienated some civic activists by voting with the ruling ZANU-PF party in parliament in August to pass a constitutional amendment that was hammered out in South African-mediated crisis negotiations. The bill unpalatable to many in civil society because it made sweeping changes in the electoral framework - among them letting parliament select a new president if the incumbent were to retire or die.
In a Web article published by NewZimbabwe.com, National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku, a leading civil society voice, is quoted as saying that Tsvangirai has “made so many mistakes” that he is unfit to govern the country in the eventuality that a political transition should take place in the country.
A source with the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition told NewZimbabwe that Mr. Tsvangirai does not seem to understand the requirements of a democratic society.
Civil society sources said such statements accurately reflect current sentiment among civic groups, which are losing confidence in Tsvangirai. Neither Madhuku nor any senior official in the Crisis Coalition could be reached for confirmation.
But Zimbabwe National Students Union President Promise Mkwananzi, speaking from the Netherlands, told reporter Patience Rusere that Madhuku’s comments mirror what many civic groups are thinking though most are not prepared to say it openly.
Elsewhere, five female supporters of Matibenga said they were beaten up Sunday outside the Tsvangirai faction's Harare headquarters and needed medical attention. The five women are Staten Ndlovu - said to be four months pregnant - Violet Tazvivinga, Judith Hwiri, Abigail Marongweza and Violet Sanean.
They said they had demanded to see Tsvangirai when they were set upon by young party members who blocked them from entering and physically assaulted them.