Harare November 10, 2013-Former Prime Minister and MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is grounded as it emerged Saturday the party is refusing to finance his countrywide tours.
This comes as calls intensify for Tsvangirai to step down from the helm of the party after a crushing defeat to President Robert Mugabe.
Of late some senior officials have come out calling for leadership renewal to revive the party ahead of the 2018 elections.
Sources within the party claim the officials seeking leadership renewal have been responsible for sourcing money to fund party activities, but have since stopped because Tsvangirai has refused to step down.
Exiled MDC-T treasurer general, Roy Bennett has been the link between MDC-T and the donor community.
Through him, the party was pampered with money to bankroll its activities in Zimbabwe, hoping that it was going to form the next government.
In Zimbabwe former Energy minister, Elton Mangoma, who is said to be spearheading the quest to “renew and re-invigorate the party”, has been the party treasurer and controls the finances.
“Mangoma has refused to fund the tours claiming they were not budgeted for. The tours are essential to thwart any leadership renewal calls. This is in contrast to what he should be doing. Once the national executive makes a decision he is obliged to do so, however this time around he didn’t,” said a senior party official.
“It is shocking that Tsvangirai is funding the visits from his own pocket, and that is the reason they had to reschedule the trips.”
The Standard was told Saturday there have been concerted efforts to destroy MDC-T from within, in the run up to the elections through under funding.
“Money used for campaigns was less than US$100 000. T-shirts printed were less than 200 000, which means each district got a paltry 800,” a senior party official said.
The official said the recent retrenchment in the party was done to flush out people sympathetic to Tsvangirai.
The official said Tsvangirai was sabotaged even during the negotiations, when the party negotiators allowed Zanu PF to prevail.
MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said he had not heard of the allegations, adding that anything to do with Tsvangirai’s itinerary was best handled by secretary-
general, Tendai Biti and organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa and Mangoma referred all questions back to Mwonzora as the party spokesperson.
Mwonzora’s number was unavailable on our second attempt to contact him.
Sources claim the senior party officials are holding secret meetings to force an early extraordinary party congress to be held in March next year to effect leadership change.
In their plans as reported by our sister paper, The Zimbabwe Independent, former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri is tipped to take over as party president in a line-up that
also comprises former ministers in the coalition government with Zanu PF which ended in July after four years.
Writing in The Standard recently, Mudzuri proffered five scenarios to rescue the party.
He suggested that the status-quo remains and MDC go for the 2016 Congress with the current leadership.
Mudzuri said there could be an extraordinary congress before 2016 to choose new leaders.
As scenario three, Mudzuri said Tsvangirai and the whole team are contested at the 2016 Congress and a new leadership emerges in the MDC.
In scenario four Tsvangirai becomes the godfather of the party. He steps down ceremoniously and a new leader is elected. He becomes a “Mandela” of the party. Structures are re-engineered including the party constitution, which will limit the future party president to two terms only.
Lastly, Mudzuri proffered that Tsvangirai does not step down. He keeps the support base and those unhappy can form their own party or join the various sprouting political outfits in the country.
Tsvangirai is digging in, riding on the massive support he enjoys among MDC-T supporters and his camp insists the former trade unionist will secure another nomination to contest the 2018 polls.
MDC-T Secretary General, Biti said MDC-T had no money and was retrenching.
“The party does not have money and that is why we are retrenching. It is a fact that we get money from government through Political Parties Finance Act and the government is broke,” Biti said. “We don’t have diamonds like other political parties.” (The Standard)