The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Morgan Tsvangirai misfired when it appointed two vice presidents, says a political analyst.
Speaking in a VOA Studio 7 political panel which featured Dewa Mavhinga, a human rights lawyer and independent political analyst, party spokesperson Obert Gutu, however, said the formalization of the party’s constitution sometime this week to have three vice presidents would put to rest the dispute over the appointments that threatened to cause serious internal fissures in the party.
Gutu said, “It was not sanitization of the constitution because if we use the word sanitize it denotes that it is something that is fundamentally flawed. What was done was perfectly within the four corners of the constitution of the MDC as approved by the inaugural congress of the MDC held at Chitungwiza in 2000 and also as amended and adopted at the second congress that was held at the City Sports Center in Harare on the 18th of March 2006 and also as amended and adopted at the 3rd congress of the party at Barbourfields Stadium in the city of Kings, Bulawayo on April 20, 2011 and most importantly as adopted at the 4th congress of the party in 2014.
“As far as some of us are concerned this is case closed and we now have to move forward and the main thing that we have to focus on now is that the Zanu PF dictatorship as fronted by (President) Robert Mugabe is democratically removed from power.”
But Mavhinga differed sharply with Gutu saying the constitution was violated by Tsvangirai when he appointed Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri, a move that has infuriated vice president Thokozani Khupe, who feels that she is being sidelined by the former trade unionist afflicted with cancer of the colon.
He said when Tsvangirai made the appointments he claimed that he had been instructed by the National Council to make the appointments. “So, I don’t understand how the National Council will endorse its own directive to the president. Two, it’s not clear whether the president (Tsvangirai) at that point has the power to make those appointments and if he had why was then necessary to amend or align the constitution to that position if it was legally sound from the onset.
“Even if we have to assume that the National Council or the Congress had given Tsvangirai all those powers there is need for caution when you look at democratic parties as put in contrast with parties like Zanu PF. You need to limit the amount of power that can be deposed in one individual. So, it should be something that needs self introspection by the MDC leadership whether it wants to go that direction where one individual has so much power …
“And finally where you have elected senior officials and suddenly you have appointments it becomes problematic and conflictual. You need to have an arrangement or mechanism that looks at the relevant powers of these two groups of different people because those that may have been directly appointed democratically may question the basis upon which appointees would have the same authority or even higher authority. For example if you compare the posts of the national spokesperson of the party, the secretary general and appointed VPs who are above all those people. So it brings a bit of discord in the party.”
Gutu further dismissed suggestions that Tsvangirai may be doing almost exactly what is causing mayhem in President Robert Mugabe’ party in which his deputies are hand-picked by the leader of the former liberation movement instead of being elected by Zanu PF supporters.
“It is actually unfair for anyone to compare president Tsvangirai with President Mugabe. Those two gentlemen are actually a cut from two different clothes …”