Harare, May 24, 2014 – Sekai Holland, the MDC-T chairperson of the guardian’s council says party president Morgan Tsvangirai will win any election in the 15-year-old party, further rubbing salt into the wounds of the faction led by ousted secretary-general Tendai Biti.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily News Thursday,she said what was needed was for the warring MDC factions to unite.
“Whatever happens, Tsvangirai will still win any election in the MDC. What we don’t understand is why we are not going to congress,” she said.
There was talk of going to congress early within the party after some members became disgruntled following MDC’s poor performance during last year’s elections which Zanu PF won.
Expelled deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma even penned a strongly-worded letter in January calling for leadership renewal arguing the current leadership had failed to unseat Zanu PF in three consecutive elections.
This culminated in serious rifts with some members rallying firmly behind Tsvangirai while others supported the renewal cause.
Holland, largely regarded as the “grandmother of democracy” in political circles said the divisions were threatening to dismantle the movement which has given Zanu PF — in power for the past 34 years — the toughest opposition so far.
The 71-year- old said the internal crisis which saw the suspension and counter suspensions by the Tsvangirai and Biti led factions of the MDC was of major concern to the guardian council which is a national organ that is comprised mainly of elderly members.
She said the guardian council had factions but were now calling for unity within the party.
Holland said the party’s organ was gravely concerned that there was no longer trust between Tsvangirai and Biti and members of the standing committee but they would try to bring the warring factions to order.
“Inspite of consistent advice and repeated warnings from the guardian council, and subsequently from the guardian council executive committee, party leaders have been attacking each other verbally, in the press and even physically.
“This is in direct contradiction to MDC’s values and principles especially Article 4;6 which states that the MDC firmly believes in freedom of speech, freedom of expression and further, the free circulation of ideas and information within the movement,” Holland said.
She added that the heart-breaking state of the party had not only separated the movement which made history in 2008 by trouncing President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF but had seen the MDC moving away from its founding core values.
Holland said the guardian council which met in Harare on May 21 had condemned and appealed to both factions to stop their unruly behaviour as it was hurting party members.
“The meeting resolved that the guardian council goes forward and carry out our mandate as stated in our constitution;
“6.5.3(a) To offer advice and wisdom to the national leadership of the party including the national executive committee and national council.
“6.5.3 (d) To perform and/or carry out any such functions which the National Council may from time to time delegate to it, which may include investigations, arbitrations and reconciliation in disputes within the party structures and/or among members,” she said.
The Daily News learnt how the council which mainly consists of party veterans had decided that the best way forward for the party was to unite.
Another member of the guardian council , Tshabangu Mabena said the warring factions needed each other.
“There was a split in 2005 and we tried to unite with the Welshman Ncube faction and we failed but we are saying this time around we will not fail. What you need to understand also is that uniting is a process, we don’t know how long it takes but we will do it,” Mabena said.
Holland concurred with him adding that; “What I know is that we will go to the 2018 election united. We do not care what they are thinking as individuals.
“As long as we are divided, we will not win any elections, we will not get any funding and the people will not support us because the people want a united family.”
Mabena said the council of elders had already started the process of healing the rift between the party members.
“I saw Tsvangirai yesterday (Thursday) and he says he wants unity. Today I saw Mangoma (Elton) and he wants unity too.”