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Zimbabwe's Elton Mangoma of MDC Renewal Forms New Party

FILE: Elton Mangoma, center, Zimbabwe's Minster of Energy and Power Development outside the magistrates courts, accompanied by two unidentified police detectives in Harare, March, 11, 2011

Former Energy Minister Elton Mangoma today announced the formation of his new political party – Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe – a splinter group of the MDC Renewal Team party formed a few months ago.

Mangoma told journalists in Harare after a meeting of the MDC Renewal Team National Council that the council had unanimously endorsed him to lead the rebranded party that has assumed the name Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ)

He said his new political formation was determined to fight for democracy in Zimbabwe and ensure that the ruling party is defeated in general elections expected in 2018.

Mangoma said he saw it fit to dissociate himself from former Finance Minister Tendai Biti and his colleagues in the MDC Renewal Team because Biti and others were allegedly courting a Zanu PF faction linked to former Vice President Joice Mujuru that is calling itself People First.

MDC Renewal Team spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, dismissed Mangoma’s move saying the former energy minister is power hungry.

Mafume added that there was nothing wrong in working with People First if the two political formations have common interests.

Former Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, who speaks on behalf of People First, was not available for comment as his mobile phone was unreachable.

Political science lecturer Blessing Chitaka of the University of Zimbabwe said the continuing fragmentation of the opposition increases the ruling Zanu PF party’s chances of winning in the next general elections.

Mangoma announced an interim executive committee of his new party that comprises of Fidelis Mugari, Trust Chikohora, Pishai Muchauraya, Promise Mkwananzi and several others.

The inaugural congress of the new political party would be held within the next 150 days, according to Mangoma.

The MDC Renewal Team comprises former members of Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T , who left the party after complaining that the former trade unionists was, among other reasons, failing to properly run the party.