WASHINGTON DC —
Party-card holding members of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai based in Britain and USA say they are backing troubled party leader Tsvangirai following his fallout with secretary general Tendai Biti and several other top officials.
Representatives of external structures of the party say they remain intact though some members appear to be backing the splinter group which last Saturday claimed that it had expelled Tsvangirai and his deputy, Thokozani Khuphe, and those supporting him.
They say some party members are devastated by factionalism currently threatening to tear the MDC-Tapart.
Movement for Democratic Change supporters
Elliot Pfebve, provincial secretary of the MDC-T Portsmouth region in Britain, says they are holding a meeting Saturday to re-affirm their support for Tsvangirai.
“We are behind Morgan Tsvangirai and the reason being we understand and also realize that in any struggle there will be leadership change as we go along but this should be done without violating provisions of the MDC constitution,” said Pfebve.
Tsvangirai expelled Biti and his group early this week claiming that they convened an illegal meeting which resolved to suspend him for allegedly failing to remove Zanu PF from power, among many other reasons.
In USA, party chairman Dan Moyo says MDC-T members are also supporting the Tsvangirai faction. "We are holding a meeting soon to re-affirm our support for our president and right now everyone is solidly behind Tsvangiai."
There are reports that some supporters in the diaspora are backing Biti, who is reportedly crafting a grand coalition with other opposition parties in Zimbabwe in an attempt to defeat President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party in the 2018 general election.
A member of the Biti faction, who requested not to be identified, says there are large numbers of people overseas who are not happy with Tsvangirai's leadership.
He said, "The truth is that he has to give someone a chance to lead the party now. He has shown that he does not tolerate any opposition within the party and so to some of us he is like (President) Mugabe."
The MDC formations led by Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube performed dismally in the 2013 general election resulting in serious friction within the MDC-T party. Some top officials, including suspended deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma, urged Tsvangirai to step down and pave way for new leaders.
The MDC-T initially suspended Mangoma, sparking a revolt in the party among supporters calling themselves the Democratic Renewal Campaign team who in turn suspended Tsvangirai, Khuphe, chairman Lovemore Moyo and his deputy Morgan Komich, organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa and his deputy Abednico Bhebhe, spokesman Douglas Mwonzora and other senior officials supporting the former trade unionist.
Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai captured in Hwedza, Mashonaland East Province. (File Photo)
The fuming Tsvangirai then convened a joint National Council and Executive Council meeting where his faction suspended Biti, Guardian Council secretary Sam Sipepa Nkomo, Solomon Madzore (MP, Dzivarasekwa), Paul Madzore (Glen View South), Moses Manyengavana, (Highfield West), Willas Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Bekithemba Nyathi (Pelandaba), Evelyn Masaiti (Proportional representation), Watchy Sibanda (Matabeleland South), Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo) and Reggie Moyo (Luveve).
Not to be outpaced, the Biti facton summoned Tsvangirai and his suspended colleagues to appear before a disciplinary committee to answer charges filed against them including violating the party’s constitution to advance an anti-democratic agenda.