MDC-T Top Brass Quarrel Over Govt Money

A fight has erupted in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T after the party treasurer Theresa Makone reportedly failed to account for US$500 000 disbursed to the party by government in October 2014 under the Political Parties Finance Act, according to media reports.

Sources in the MDC-T said this week the US$500 000 issue became contentious at the party’s retreat from Friday to Sunday last week where the National Executive met to strategise the way forward for the party.

“Top of the agenda was the issue of the money, then the Veterans’ Association (MDCVA) which some members wanted disbanded, as well as strategies for the party’s survival ahead of the 2018 elections,” said a close source.

“Party officials spent much of their time discussing the money which the treasurer (Theresa Makone) failed to account for and this resulted in accusations and counter-accusations as fingers were pointed at each other, especially on those alleged to have benefitted from it illegally.”

In October last year, government disbursed US$500 000 from the Political Fund Act to the MDC-T following the 2013 general elections. The funds were shared between Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and the break-away MDC Renewal led by former secretary general Tendai Biti. However, sources in the MDC-T said the national executive wanted to know how the funds were used by the party treasury and that some senior officials (names withheld) were given large sums of money which they converted to their own use.

“Makone failed to account how the funds were used and some officials are said to have been paid for services they did not render to the party,” the source said.

In the same meeting MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe reportedly accused Tsvangirai of trying to stir party activities through the MDCVA — formed in 2008 to address social welfare issues of victims of political violence. This came after Tsvangirai donated to flood victims recently in the company of some members of the association instead of the party leadership.

“Khupe and her group are of the opinion that Tsvangirai is now using the association to gain mileage as well as to get their support yet in the past he neglected them,” said the source.

In an interview this week, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu confirmed the retreat took place last weekend.

“The MDC national executive retreat was held in Harare from Friday, February 20 until Sunday, February 22, 2015. It was a highly successful retreat that culminated in the adoption of a roadmap to the next elections,” Gutu said.

“The party deliberated on and then adopted realistic, achievable and measurable objectives. For instance, 2015 has been themed The Year of Planning.

This is the year during which the party will plan its strategies and programmes. And 2016 has been themed The Year of Building. This is the year in which the party will galvanise and strengthen its various organs and structures.”

“After that 2017 has been themed The Year of Party Power. This is the year in which the party will sharpen its various organs and tools as it prepares to take over power and form the next government. Finally, 2018 has been themed Gore rekutonga. This is the year in which the suffering, oppressed and downtrodden people of Zimbabwe will ultimately reclaim their power.”