Harare, April 29, 2014 – Hundreds of MDC-T supporters on Tuesday thronged the opposition party’s headquarters to offer support to the party’s founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai who announced the expulsion of Tendai Biti, his former lieutenant from the party.
More than 500 MDC-T supporters turned up at Harvest House, the MDC-T headquarters, where the national council and the national executive met and staged a demonstration in support of Tsvangirai’s leadership of the party.
On Saturday, Biti and a team of rebels, who included expelled former deputy Treasurer-General Elton Mangoma claimed to have suspended Tsvangirai from the leadership of the party together with other top leaders, who included Vice-President Thokozani Khupe, national Organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa and party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora among others for allegedly failing to wrestle power from Zanu PF party and its leader President Robert Mugabe.
But a boisterous Tsvangirai and his party’s national chairperson and former Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo told journalists in Harare that the MDC-T party which Biti and his faction claimed to be in control of over the weekend had overwhelmingly voted to expel the former Finance Minister from the party for staging an “illegal, unconstitutional, illegitimate and bogus coup whose resolutions are not binding.”
Tsvangirai said out of 167 members of the national council, the MDC-T party’s supreme decision making body outside congress, 162 had voted for the expulsion of Biti while the nine legislators who rebelled against the labour backed party had also been expelled and will be recalled from Parliament.
“Having formed their own party, they have ceased to be members of the MDC-T and they have been summarily withdrawn from Parliament,” said Moyo.
Deputy Secretary-General and former Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada was appointed acting Secretary-General while Women’s Assembly leader and former Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone comes in as acting deputy Secretary-General.
Costa Machingauta replaced Solomon Madzore as the MDC-T’s Youth Assembly leader after the Dzivarasekwa constituency legislator joined the rebels faction.
The former Prime Minister announced that the MDC-T party will convene an elective congress in October instead of 2016 when it was due to “re-energise, transform and revitalize” the party.
The former trade union leader charged that Biti and his team had betrayed the trust invested in them by the MDC-T supporters during the years that they served as some of the party leaders.
“They have not necessarily betrayed Tsvangirai. They have betrayed the people. He (Biti) deceived us all,” said Tsvangirai.
Outside Harvest House, Tsvangirai addressed some ecstatic supporters who broke into song and dance as the national council met and until he left Harvest House after the deliberations.
Some of his supporters sang songs with the lyrics “Tsvangirai mutanda vebhasikoro”, “ZvaBiti ndozvandisingade mumba mangu”, Patairohwa tairohwa naTsvangirai” and “Baya tiende Morgan tinohwina usambotya”, all in support of the opposition leader.
Some MDC-T supporters waved placards inscribed; “We only trust in Tsvangirai”, “Tsvangirai send by God” and “Mission to destroy MDC-T flops” while two truckloads of police officers armed with truncheons kept guard over the proceedings.