Right of Reply

Last week we carried an article "Behind the Scenes in the MDC" by Itai Dzamara. MDC officials have disputed much of the content of that article and we therefore accord them their right of reply:

The MDC is miffed by false and malicious reports in The Zimbabwean of 6-12 December 2007.
The story trumps up serious charges of imaginary and fictitious internal rivalry, tribalism and schisms in the MDC in exactly the same mould of a story that would appear in the pages of propaganda mouthpieces.
There are no factions within the MDC. The MDC is a vibrant, democratic and robust institution. That MDC is united in its diversity and it is unfortunate to mistake vibrant democracy and debate for factions within the party. The story makes allegations of in-fighting for the position of the post of secretary-general barely two years after the party held a successful Congress in which Hon Tendai Biti was elected to the post until 2011. The story makes malicious allegations against MDC MPs and invokes non-existent tribal nuances to malign and soil the image of the party and its senior officials and MPs.
The story refers to “a powerful clique” of Karangas who are said to be a threat to President Tsvangirai. Personally, I am said to be the major trump card of a non-existent and imaginary clique which is a product of the art of phantom journalism. I am neither a trump card for anybody nor a tribal lord of any character. My duty is to speak on behalf of the party on its positions and direction and not express personal opinions. My duty is to articulate party programmes not to purvey alleged and concocted plots and conspiracies.
The MDC has never been about tribe, race or ethnicity. It has always been a happy family of people from all backgrounds and any insinuation to defame and malign people on the basis of tribe and ethnicity is both mischievous and primitive. As part of its objectives and value systems, the MDC has always been an all-inclusive party and the party’s constitution makes a clear statement against your reporters’ unbridled malice and defamatory insinuations.
It is common cause that President Morgan Tsvangirai is the undisputed face of the struggle against tyranny and oppression in Zimbabwe. He is the party’s candidate in the next election and continues to receive respect from all Zimbabweans both within and outside the party.
The story predicts the weakening and the subsequent collapse of the MDC. Similar predictions were made after 12 October 2005 but the party emerged stronger.
We believe the proper tenets of journalism grant us our right of reply. The defamatory and malicious story makes no attempt to solicit the party’s views or the views of those whose reputations it seeks to harm. Perhaps our comments were going to stand in the way of ‘a good story’. – Hon Nelson Chamisa, MP, Secretary for Information and Publicity

Journalists must check facts
The story talks about a looming split in the MDC and refers to what it calls infighting for powerful positions” in the MDC.  Itai Dzamara also reports that there are factions in the MDC and that the Deputy Secretary General leads one of the factions. All these stories are a figment of your journalist’s imagination.
The story is false and malicious. Its high time your journalists learn to check facts before they rush to publish falsehoods. For the record, I as the Deputy Secretary General, am not leading any faction and I am not aware of the existence of factions in the MDC. As the Liberation Team, we are all united and rallying behind our democratic leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is the unassailable leader of MDC. Morgan Tsvangirai is our brand. Therefore any attempts to try and put a wedge between the leadership is bound to fail. 
Your journalist should be careful not to play in the hands of Zanu (PF) by attempting to divide the MDC leadership. We have a mission to bring about democratic change in Zimbabwe as a united leadership. We love our President and the suggestion about a split is wishful thinking. We will not waste time on such false stories. The people of Zimbabwe are hungry for a new political dispensation, characterized by a robust economy, food, jobs and peace. We will not rest on our laurels until we achieve democratic change. This is the covenant we have with the people.
Next time, your journalist risks prosecution for publishing falsehoods and some of his stories put the credibility of your paper at great risk. Your journalist even had the audacity to feign a response from me when I have never had an interview with him. This is highly unprofessional and I demand a retraction of the false story in your next issue. – Tapiwa Mashakada, deputy secretary general

Post published in: News

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