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MDC-T Squabbles Worsen as Party Heads for Split

  • Jonga Kandemiiri
  • Ntungamili Nkomo
  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Fissures in the Movement for Democratic Change formation of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai continue to widen following the release of a document by Youth Assembly secretary-general Promise Mkwananzi on Monday accusing the party of diverting from its founding principle of providing a democratic alternative to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

Mkwananzi said the National Council meeting called by Mr. Tsvangirai last week was unconstitutional, adding therefore the suspension of deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma from the party was unprocedural.

He also accused organising secretary Nelson Chamisa of dividing the party by mishandling party primary elections ahead of last year’s polls and of misleading Tsvangirai that he was going to beat President Mugabe in the disputed elections when he knew things on the ground looked otherwise.

Over the weekend, Tsvangirai held two rallies in Chitungwiza and Mabvuku where he told supporters that those refusing to toe the line and calling on him to resign were free to leave the party.

This was in apparent reference to secretary general Tendai Biti, Mangoma and others who did not attend the two rallies.

Biti told Studio 7 he did not have any comment. But Mkwananzi spoke with reporter Ntungamili Nkomo about the issues he raised in his document.

But party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora dismissed Mkwananzi’s document saying there was absolutely no logic in it.

“That document was written in competition to many documents that are meant to denigrate President Tsvangirai,” Monzora added.

Political analyst Charles Mutasa thinks the squabbles in the MDC-T party could signal to another split similar to the one in 2005.

Meanwhile, the wrangle for MDC-T leadership in Matabeleland North continues, with party spokesman Mwonzora on Monday confirming the party endorsed former provincial organizing secretary Thembinkosi Sibindi as acting chairman, having replaced Sengezo Tshabangu a fortnight ago when a new interim committee was formed.

But Tshabangu said the party’s secretary-general Tendai Biti has written him a letter confirming he is still the chairman of the province as the dissolution of the Matabeleland North provincial committee was unconstitutional, and therefore, null and void.

Sibindi, a former Victoria Falls mayor and former Hwange East legislator said the national council meeting barred Tshabangu and his parallel committee from attending, in favor of him and his newly elected members, a confirmation that the party accepted him as the new chairman.

Tshabangu said he did not attend the national council meeting last Friday because he arrived late with some provincial leaders, but members of his provincial committee attended, proving that the party was not agreed on ousting him as the provincial chairperson, a position he insists he still holds.

He said he is being targetted because he has also called for leadership change within the party, a debate which he believes should be allowed as the MDC-T was founded on principles of democracy.