Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Plot against Tsvangirai thickens

by Staff reporter
23 Jan 2014 at 08:25hrs | Views
Hawks in opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T party are reportedly pushing for an elective extra-ordinary congress this year to re-arrange the presidium, The Zimbabwe Mail has learnt.

While there are howls of denial from the party's information department on the move, top officials said the extra-ordinary congress, likely in March, would benefit the MDC-T in the long run.

"It is a fact that we are facing a leadership crisis and nobody can deny this. The best way to resolve this is a congress and the earlier we have it the better for the party and its future," a member of the MDC-T national council and executive committee said.

"We need a congress even in March, but if that does not happen then later this year. It will provide us with sufficient time to heal the rifts that will obviously be created by the congress."

The sources said the congress was targeting the ouster of Tsvangirai whom senior party officials blame for the MDC-T defeat in last year's presidential and general elections. The sources said the party intended to have a new leadership to work for success in the 2018 elections.

Lovemore Moyo, party national chairman, acknowledged the existence of "rumours" on the push for an extra-ordinary congress, but said he was not formally approached.

"As national chairman, I also chair the national council which is the highest decision making body between congresses and nobody has approached me at least formally to request for a congress," Moyo told a private daily yesterday.
"However, if at any given time the national council decides that we have one, which is very constitutional, we could have an extra-ordinary congress."

He said due process would have to be followed that will allow new structures to elect a new executive.

"We cannot have old structures voting for new structures. We do not operate that way," Moyo said.

"At the moment we are in the process of revitalising the party structures, filling gaps we have, including complete restructuring in some that no longer constitute a quorum. It is a normal process not necessarily associated with an early congress. Some people are tired after a hard campaign in the general elections last year and we need to build momentum to the levels required of a political party of our size."

MDC-T secretary general and former finance minister Tendai Biti concurred with Moyo, claiming nobody has approached the party in the required manner to request for a congress.

"Not even one province has demanded an extra-ordinary congress," said Biti, declining to discuss the matter further.

Biti has denied reports he is leading a faction baying for Tsvangirai's head, while party national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa has pitched himself behind Tsvangirai. Chamisa is allegedly fronting another faction.

Party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora once again dismissed the claims or calls for an early congress.

"The issue of our congress has since been settled both by the national council and national executive. The position is that the MDC will hold its congress in accordance with our constitution in 2016. At the moment the MDC will continue to re-organise its structures," said Mwonzora.

Since the July 31 humiliating poll defeat, calls for Tsvangirai to step down have been growing.

First was exiled party treasurer general Roy Bennett who was sanctioned for openly calling for leadership renewal He was followed by ex-Marondera legislator Ian Kay who referred to Tsvangirai as a "rusting bolt" and captain of a sinking ship. Kay reportedly later went on bended knees apologising to Tsvangirai for the guff.

Former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri has declared his wish to lead the MDC-T, proposing that Tsvangirai must step down and become the "Mandela of the party".

The MDC-T's next congress is due in 2016, five years after the last one in 2011 in terms of the party constitution.

According to the MDC-T, an extra-ordinary congress can be called if: "Section 5.25 subsection 2(a) an extraordinary congress shall be called by a simple majority vote of the members of the national council or two thirds of the national executive which vote shall be conducted by secret ballot, or upon written requests received at least from one third of members eligible to attend congress or upon written requests received from at least two thirds of provincial executives". Requests are made to the secretary general.

But Tsvangirai has already brushed aside such suggestions insisting he will see out his full term.

In a recent interview with the BBC in the UK, Tsvangirai said he is not ready to give up and will be Zimbabwe's head of state.

The MDC-T political nemesis Zanu-PF would also be holding an elective congress this year. The former liberation movement is also in the throes of an acrimonious factional fight between two distinct groups one reportedly led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and another by vice president Joice Mujuru. The two have denied leading any factions.

Source - zimmail