The women’s wing of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says it is backing the leadership of its party leader amid calls for leadership renewal in the opposition by some senior party officials.
Addressing a news conference at the MDCT’s Harvest House headquarters in Harare on Monday, chairperson of the opposition party’s Women’s Assembly, Theresa Makone, said her wing met in the capital to discuss issues affecting the nation and the state of their party.
Makone told journalists her wing is solidly behind Mr. Tsvangirai’s leadership despite calls by some members of the party’s national executive committee for the former premier to quit the opposition party following his electoral defeat to President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF party in last year’s national polls.
“The assembly reiterates support for the leadership of the MDC led by Tsvangirai. As the assembly, we are very clear and we are solidly behind our president and dissociate ourselves to any statements that are in the public domain that are misrepresenting the facts on the life and health of our party,” said Makone.
Some members of the MDC-T national executive such as treasurer Roy Bennett, former Marondera Central legislator Ian Kay and lately, Bennett’s deputy in the party and former energy minister, Elton Mangoma, have called for Mister Tsvangirai to resign from the leadership of the opposition following his defeat in July 31 national elections.
However, Makone said her wing resolved that those who are calling for an early congress should wait for the current leadership to complete its term. The MDCT congress is due in 2016.
“We discussed that at length and as the assembly of women we were very clear that the officers of congress that were elected in 2011 should only go to elections after 5 years after their normal term; there is nothing that has happened inside our party that calls for an emergency congress or an early congress.”
Makone called on her party’s national chairperson Lovemore Moyo to investigate how a document purportedly authored by Mangoma criticizing Mister Tsvangirai’s leadership ended up in the media, especially after the MDC had taken a position that all issues to do with leadership renewal should be discussed within the party’s organizational structures.
Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Mangoma.
However, Mr. Tsvangirai told the nation during his state of the nation address last Friday that the MDC-T leadership was united and he was ready to continue leading his party until the struggle for democracy in the country is achieved.
“I want to assure you that the party is united, alive and well. We are focused as leadership on delivering on our agenda and we are impervious to the shrill cries of those who want to kill this people’s project.”
Some MDCT members have alleged that those calling for leadership renewal in their party campaigned against Mister Tsvangirai in last year's polls but Makone said she had no evidence to that effect.
Makone also said her party is concerned that several women and children throughout the country are now vulnerable following her alleged partisan distribution of food aid and farming inputs by Zanu PF.
The party’s Women Assembly condemned the partisan distribution of government food aid and agricultural inputs by Zanu PF leaving women and children being the worst affected.
The Assembly raised concerns over the paltry allocations that was disbursed to the women in the 2014 national budget considering that over 50 percent of the population consists of women.
Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo whose mobile phone was not being answered.
Meanwhile, the Standing Committee of the MDC-T has rejected calls by deputy party treasurer Elton Mangoma for the party leader to step down.
Mangoma told AFP that he personally gave the letter to Tsvangirai in a meeting with other senior officials. Mangoma said he gave the letter to him as some personal advice and was not meant for the public.
Mangoma confirmed that he wrote a letter complaining about the party’s leadership.
But party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the Standing Committee met Friday and rejected Mangoma’s proposal.