COALITION of Democrats (Code) presidential candidate, Elton Mangoma, has desrbied the late MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai as a “brother”, four years after he acrimoniously parted ways with the charismatic leader.
Mangoma told independent daily NewsDay yesterday that while the two differed on matters of principle, they still remained in touch up to Tsvangirai’s death.
The former MDC-T treasurer-general quit the opposition party in 2014 after he wrote a stinging letter to Tsvangirai calling on him to step down and allow for leadership renewal, following the party’s heavy defeat by Zanu PF in the 2013 elections.
Mangoma was assaulted by party activists in the presence of Tsvangirai at Harvest House for penning the letter, leading to his resignation with then secretary general Tendai Biti.
“I certainly disagreed with him, but Tsvangirai was like my brother. What I said then — that he was not ‘democratic’ does not change, I meant what I said,” Mangoma said.
“I disagreed with Tsvangirai but it was not personal. It was a disagreement on principle, and I never hated Tsvangirai. In fact, I learnt a lot from this man.
“When he was sick, I actually visited him and when he passed on I went to his funeral. His death was a very sad loss for Zimbabweans. I feel the loss like everyone else.
“But, I also think that Tsvangirai was a good person and I learnt a lot from him,” he said.
Mangoma said the letter was not a personal attack on Tsvangirai, but was based on his vision that Africa must get rid of “big man” or “big woman” politics, where leaders want to become supreme leaders.
Mangoma said, as Code, they believed that leading a political party should not turn into a dictatorship.
“As Code, we said we need to reduce presidential powers so that we do not create a dictator and so that we have a president, who is accountable to the people.
“The Zanu PF system with President Emmerson Mnangagwa is still the same. We are close to having a President with too many powers like the North Korean Kim Jong Un.
“The MDC-T system is the same. We have a draconian power system that needs to be dealt with,” Mangoma said.