Tsvangirai-led MDC set for yet another split
THE MDC-T is set for another split after a faction in the party calling for leadership renewal yesterday said their differences with former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai were now irreconcilable.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE AND PHYLLIS MBANJE
The faction calling itself the “Renewal Movement/Team” accused Tsvangirai of having dismally failed in providing sound leadership to resolve the current national crisis.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, spokesperson of the renewal team, Harare lawyer, Jacob Mafume said MDC-T had failed to come up with a national strategy that dealt with the “stolen election” and resolve the economic challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe.
Mafume is representing MDC-T deputy treasurer, Elton Mangoma in a case in which the former energy minister is facing disciplinary action for allegedly putting the name of the party into disrepute and undermining the authority of the party leadership.
Mangoma had advised Tsvangirai to step down as party leader for failing to remove President Robert Mugabe in three consecutive elections.
“Given these challenges, regrettably, just like Zanu PF, the current MDC that is led by Morgan Tsvangirai has failed to provide that leadership,” said Mafume.
Hinting a veiled announcement of a split, Mafume who was flanked by MDC-T youth assembly secretary-general, Promise Mkwananzi and party activist Last Maengehama, said Tsvangirai, “had exhibited a serious departure from its core values as evidenced by the use of violence and a blatant disregard of the party’s constitution”.
He added: “It is against this sad background, that there has been an emergence of the MDC Team, which is advocating for a return to the party’s founding values and the need to intensify our focus on tackling the national crisis.”
Mafume could however neither confirm nor deny that his team had broken away from MDC-T.
“What break away? We have remained grounded in our founding principles and that is why we are fighting to retain the original values,” said Mafume. “It is actually the other group which has departed from this guiding principle.”
He also accused Tsvangirai’s leadership of intolerance, personification of the people’s struggle and “Zanufication of the party processes and undemocratic approaches to decision-making”.
“Regrettably, such tendencies have alienated genuine democrats within the party to the point where differences in value propositions have reached irreconcilable proportions,” he said.
Mafume said the country needed a strong alternative political party “that is able to save the people of Zimbabwe from the current crisis”.
The group said they were “remaining genuine democrats in the MDC” committed to advancing “a democratic transition” in the country.
“The team believes that there is need to revive the people’s democratic project so as to restore the people’s hope in a credible and democratic alternative that is able to deliver jobs, better health, education and a better life for all in a truly democratic Zimbabwe,” said Mafume.
He took a swipe at the Tsvangirai camp for running the party like “revival crusades” which are held by pentecostal churches such as the United Family International Church (UFIC) led by prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa or Uebert Angel’s Spirit Embassy.
“They are running it like revival crusades where people line up to repent.”
Mkwananzi said his team was not elitist and represented the ordinary populace.
“We have been to the grassroots people and they are behind us fully. Anyone here can verify by going to the provinces to check. The views we expressed today are their views as well,” he said.
Mkwananzi however, could not confirm if MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti was part of their group.
“You have heard him giving out statements before and when he is ready and the time is right, he will announce his position,” he said.
But yesterday Biti declined to answer any questions related to the press conference, which was also not attended by Mangoma.
“Mangoma could not attend but he is solidly behind the views expressed here today,” said Mafume.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka dismissed the so-called renewal movement saying those that aspired for posts in the party must do so through the normal channels.
“This is why the president [Tsvangirai] has brought the congress closer and if there is anyone who wishes to challenge, they can do so. Leaders are not removed at press conferences,” he said.
“However, it would set a bad precedence if leaders across the world were to be removed by three people only.”
Tamborinyoka added: “Right now the president is concentrating on national issues. Internal issues are a closed chapter because the relevant organs of the party have dealt with them.”
Renewal team just attention seekers — Mwonzora
MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora dismissed the leadership renewal team as a bunch of attention seekers out to fleece Mangoma.
“This is the work of cheap liquor-loving malcontents who are trying to justify the money they are fleecing from poor Elton Mangoma who believes he is getting legal advice,” he said. “They are cheap lawyers who have never won even a maintenance case.”
Mwonzora said it was surprising that they were clamouring for constitutionalism at the same time calling for Tsvangirai’s removal through a press conference. He said leadership in the MDC-T was obtained through the party congress.
“Therefore, we are not going to lose sleep as a result of incompetent attention-seeking individuals,” said Mwonzora. “The real master that they are speaking on behalf of is too spineless to talk for himself,” he said.
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