The Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai says it won’t pay 16 workers who have hired a lawyer claiming that they were unfairly dismissed after being linked to a party faction calling itself the democratic renewal team.
The workers, who include former MDC-T director general Toendepi Shonhe, hired National Constitutional Assembly party leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku, a criminal and constitutional expert, claiming that they have not been paid since February this year.
They claim that they were ejected from the party’s headquarters, Harvest House, after being linked to party reformists said to be led by Tendai Biti.
MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the party is surprised by the demands being made by the workers.
“These are people who moved away with Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma and set up their own office in Milton Park in Harare. Now they are turning around demanding salaries from the MDC.
“We don’t owe them salaries at all. Their real reason is to try to put us through the courts and to try to put us through a lot of expenses. This is part of the work to destroy MDC. They know that they were called to come back to work and did not come.”
On the other hand, the MDC-T faction said to be led by Biti indicated that they will not pay the disgruntled workers. Faction member, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, said the workers should be paid by the Tsvangirai MDC-T.
“They are entitled to what is owed to them and as such we cannot begrudge them for seeking the services of a lawyer to address their concerns,” said Sipepa Nkomo.
He added that "they know where to go and I think they have gone where they are owed (Tsvangirai MDC party).”
Biti and the renewal team accuse Tsvangirai and his inner circle of failing to remove President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power in the last poll, saying the former trade unionist has dictatorial tendencies.
The democratic renewal team suspended Tsvangirai and his deputy, Thokozani Khuphe, chairman Lovemore Moyo and several other top officials claiming that they have strayed from the core principles of the party’s democratic agenda.
Tsvangirai reacted to his suspension by convening a National Council meeting which recommended the expulsion of Biti and other renewal team members.