Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s coalition bid in 2013, when he tried to mobilise opposition forces to challenge President Mugabe, continues to haunt him as the Labour Court is set to rule on allegations that he reneged on a pledge to pay emissaries who facilitated talks with his prospective allies.
Labour Court judge Justice Lillian Hove yesterday heard how Mr Tsvangirai (pictured right) allegedly engaged Voice of People leader Mr More-precision Muzadzi and Zimbabwe Development Party leader Mr Kisnot Mukwazhi to facilitate fellow opposition parties to throw their support behind him to avoid splitting votes during the 2013 harmonised elections.
Mr Muzadzi approached the Court to compel Mr Tsvangirai to pay $7 000 as well as hand over a vehicle that he promised him for bringing opposition parties together to rally behind him.
Mr Tsvangirai subsequently dismally lost to President Mugabe.
In yesterday’s hearing, Justice Hove reserved judgment on a preliminary point on whether the Labour Court was the proper tribunal to hear the case.
In his papers, Mr Muzadzi said he hailed from the same village in Buhra as Mr Tsvangirai, making it easier for him to work with the MDC-T leader in the task that was at hand.
Mr Muzadzi detailed how he travelled the length and breadth of the country and convened several meetings with MDC-T and Western embassies for funding, in a bid to form a grand coalition for Mr Tsvangirai’s presidential bid.
Mr Muzadzi said he used his links with fellow opposition parties and his strategic position as Mr Tsvangirai’s homeboy and approached the latter’s younger brother, Manasa and sold them the idea of a coalition.
“After Manasa conferred with Morgan Tsvangirai, they engaged me to negotiate with all opposition presidents to rally behind Tsvangirai against President Mugabe. The project was named One Zimbabwe, One presidential candidate,” reads the summons.
He chronicled that several meetings were held with opposition parties and Western embassies, where it was agreed that he would get cash and a Nissan NP 200.
“With almost all opposition presidents on board, our project was now complete and Morgan Komichi (MDC-T national deputy chairperson) took us to meet Tsvangirai at his residence on April 20 2013.
“Mr Tsvangirai was happy and said ‘I endorse it’ and then appointed his technical team to draft a Memorandum of Understanding, and also told us to make a budget to reimburse us of the costs we incurred and also include our allowances saying, ‘hamuna mari ndozviziva.’ We made the budget, which stated our allowances at $7 800 each and two vehicles, and submitted them to him,” said Mr Muzadzi.
“A week before the general elections, I brought coalition leaders to Tsvangirai’s Harvest House office at his request for a press conference with Tendai Biti (the then MDC-T secretary- general). Some voiced their displeasure over Tsvangirai’s technical team and some wanted assurances over positions in the event of a coalition victory.
“Komichi was arrested that day over those lost 2013 special ballot papers at Rainbow Towers, and my partner (Mr Mukwazhi) got mad with Tsvangirai over our unpaid allowances and vehicles and then jumped ship and went on to support President Mugabe. I disagreed with my partner in negotiations and remained, keeping the philosophy of complaining after work.”
Mr Muzadzi said he has had several heated exchanges over the unpaid allowances with Mr Tsvangirai, intimating that he (Tsvangirai) was broke, and that the coalition did not eventually win as the excuse for not paying him.