Wednesday, June 12, 2013

(TALKZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai meets white farmers secretly
This article was written by Our reporter
on 7 June, at 23 : 35 PM

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday met a group of mainly white farmers in a closed door meeting in Bulawayo, in what observers said was a mission to reassure them that they will get their farms back should he win the forthcoming harmonised elections.

Mr Tsvangirai recently vowed to review Zanu-PF’s indigenisation and economic empowerment drives and said most local farmers who benefited from the highly successful land reform programme would be brought back to urban centres to work in the industries.

More than 300 000 families benefited from the redistribution of land that was previously held by about 6 000 white farmers. In yesterday’s meeting, at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Farmers’ Hall, burly aides blocked journalists from entering the hall.

A number of black farmers who turned up late for the meeting were refused entry by the aides, while two white farmers who also came late, strolled in without being questioned.

A party official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Mr Tsvangirai had been nervous about holding the meeting and had to be convinced by his advisors to go ahead with it.

“He said he did not want to be photographed with white farmers again because it could lose him votes. He wanted to have the meeting cancelled or held informally, but his advisors said it would be a blunder if he appeared to snub the farmers,” said the official.

White farmers and Western countries are among the major bank-rollers of the MDC-T as they fight to effect regime change in the country.

“In the meeting, Mr Tsvangirai was not very specific about what he wanted but hinted that he would return farms that were seized in the land reform,” said the official.

After the meeting, the farmers were asked to remain seated as Mr Tsvangirai and his bodyguards left the venue first.

“That was done deliberately so that journalists would not get shots of the Prime Minister with the white farmers. Mr Tsvangirai has often said pictures of white farmers giving him bundles of cash, which were widely circulated in 2000, cost him victory.

He said the pictures alienated him from thousands of voters who benefited from the land redistribution exercise,” said another official.

The official said journalists were excluded from yesterday’s meeting because they covered a session in which he was found wanting when Bulawayo residents grilled him about his party’s proposals to reverse the de-industrialisation of the city.

Mr Tsvangirai also held private meetings with religious leaders at the Brethren-In-Christ Church along Fort Street and Masotsha Avenue, and the National Railways of Zimbabwe unions.

He was said to be on a fire-fighting mission in Bulawayo where his MDC-T party is in turmoil.

No comment could be obtained from Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Mr Luke Tamborinyoka as he was not reachable on his mobile phone.

However, on Thursday, Mr Tsvangirai refuted reports that his visit to Bulawayo was to try and quell factionalism that has rocked his party in the province.

In Bulawayo Central, racism has threatened to split the MDC-T apart, with some members saying they did not want to be represented by a white person in Parliament and were therefore against the candidature of Ms Nikki Brown in the constituency.

Primary elections held in the city also exposed deep seated factionalism, with observers saying they turned out to be a contest between factions led by the party’s provincial chairperson Mr Gorden Moyo and Mzilikazi Senator, Mr Matson Hlalo.

Members in Makokoba have threatened a protest vote in the elections, saying Mr Moyo had been imposed on a constituency that, according to the party’s policies, was reserved for women candidates.

The party announced that constituencies that were held by women MPs would be contested among women and Makokoba was represented in the House of Assembly by Ms Thokozani Khupe.

TH

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