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Will Centralizing Power on Tsvangirai Strengthen MDC-T?

MDC-T Morgan Tsvangirai

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai wrapped up its national congress Sunday with the party making huge changes to its constitution, centralizing most powers around leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Among the raft of changes adopted during the weekend elective congress, was the amendment allowing Mr. Tsvangirai or future party presidents to be the custodian of the party’s name, its assets, finances and administration, including supervising all in the movement’s leadership.

The move is being criticized by some who are accusing the MDC-T leader of failing to respect the separation of powers, especially with the secretary-general and the treasurer-general being forced to report to him as they execute their duties.

Another highlight at the congress was the election of former spokesman Douglas Mwonzora to the secretary-general’s position after beating former organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa, who’s also the Kuwadzana East lawmaker.

Mr. Tsvangirai retained his presidency together with his deputy Thokozani Khupe and party chairman Lovemore Moyo. Moyo’s deputy Morgen Komichi emerged the victor after shaking off a flimsy challenge from Gift Chimanikire.

Other members who landed some top posts were former deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu who took over from Chamisa and is deputized by Thabitha Khumalo.

Theresa Makoni landed the treasurer-general’s post taking over from Mr. Roy Bennet.

Mwonzora, who promises to introduce a number of changes, says there is nothing wrong with the secretary-general reporting to the party president since this doesn’t mean that the post has no more power.

Independent political analyst Takura Zhangazha says at least the MDC-T held a congress to solve their issues, but adds that in centralizing all powers around Mr. Tsvangirai, the party has demonstrated that it is not as democratic as it wants people to believe.

“It’s a big challenge of many political parties both ruling and opposition in Zimbabwe at the moment, where they have this singular charismatic leader who makes determinations of party policies without a broader consensus,” said Zhangazha.

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