by Gift Phiri
HARARE – Elton Mangoma, MDC renewal team treasurer-general, has lambasted allegations he had a sexual affair with a married woman, describing the accusations as a grotesque attempt by secretary-general Tendai Biti to destroy him politically.
The embattled Mangoma promised Biti’s alleged campaign would fail.
The scandal has erupted at a sensitive time for Mangoma, who is already on the back-foot politically and likely lose a vote for the MDC renewal team presidency if the allegations stick.
The MDC renewal team yesterday disclosed they were probing whether Mangoma had an affair with 20-year-old Yemurai Maravanyika — his party youth activist Believe Tevera’s wife.
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mangoma expressed indignation at the “smear campaign”, describing it variously as malicious, unacceptable and grotesque.
The 50-year-old former minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion has long maintained that Biti was waging a personal campaign to oust him from the political scene so that the former Finance minister can easily step into the MDC renewal team presidency.
Tevera’s wife has allegedly decamped from her marital home to occupy a Marlborough flat that is allegedly being bankrolled by the former Energy minister, according to the husband.
Tevera, allegedly confronted Mangoma at the party’s offices in Eastlea on Tuesday morning, and shoved one of the country’s first few black chartered accountants against a glass pane, sustaining cuts on the head. MDC thugs loyal to Mangoma then tracked Tevera and viciously assaulted him, according to Tevera.
Mangoma confirmed he was assaulted, a bashing he blamed on Biti.
“Yes I was assaulted, I had three cuts on the head and three stitches,” Mangoma said. “He (Tevera) was sent.”
Asked if he was behind the attack on Tevera later that day, Mangoma retorted: “I don’t know about that.”
Asked who he thought was behind allegations of sexual impropriety on his part, Mangoma claimed it was Biti.
Pressed further to unpack why Biti would want to engage in such a smear campaign, Mangoma said: “It’s the issue of the presidency of the party. There is a leadership struggle. The relationship has been fairly strained.”
He forcefully denied any sexual involvement with Tevera’s wife.
Asked pointedly if he was having sexual relations with the woman, Mangoma said: “Absolutely not!”
His voice was shaking as he spoke.
“It’s politics dzekusvibisana (anchored on smear campaign), it’s fairly bad,” he continued.
Biti could not immediately respond to Mangoma’s accusations as he was said to be en route to Europe.
Jacob Mafume, the renewal team spokesman, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that the committee would concentrate on the core charges against Mangoma in order for its investigation to be completed by the self-imposed two-week deadline.
MDC renewal team organising secretary Benison Ntini, is heading the inquiry, together with former Dzivaresekwa MDC MP Solomon Madzore. The inquiry would focus on whether Mangoma engineered the violence or had inappropriate sexual relations with Tevera’s wife.
“We have appointed a team to look at the allegations of violence at the office and give a report,” Mafume told the Daily News.
The inquiry would encompass most of the specific counts raised by Tevera to the renewal team.Dailynews