DOZENS of MDC senior officials in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction who include several Members of Parliament (MPs) face suspension and even expulsion for a
llegedly leading demonstrations denouncing the party leadership at the violence-marred women’s congress in Bulawayo last weekend.
The party’s national executive committee will meet this weekend to deliberate on action to take against those accused of taking part in the demonstrations where the party’s leadership was denounced for being undemocratic.
Several district, provincial executive members and MPs joined women aligned to expelled former women’s assembly leader Lucia Matibenga in a march to protest her suspension from the party.
The women together with the youths marched in the city centre and converged on a restaurant where the party’s vice president Thokozani Khupe was addressing delegates at a parallel congress organised in the city.
The demonstrators attempted to break into the venue but failed to do so as doors to the congress taking place at the restaurant were secured from inside.
The party’s secretary-general, Tendai Biti, said the party was aware of the actions of some of its party members and said the party’s national executive committee will meet over the weekend to deliberate on what action to take against all those involved in the demonstrations against the party’s leadership.
“As a party we are aware that some of our party members in senior provincial and national positions were involved in organising and taking part in the weekend demonstration that denounced the party’s leadership,” said Biti. “But we are a democratic party. We say party members have a right to express their views in a manner that does not undermine the principles of the party.”
“But if the party members were singing derogatory songs about president Tsvangirai then it is up to the executive committee to decide this weekend what action to take against those that took part in the demonstrations. The national chairman will submit a report that the committee will deliberate on before taking a decision.”
He however said the party was also aware that Zanu PF had a hand in the demonstrations but did not elaborate further on the allegations.
Pressed to comment on whether the MPs involved in the demonstrations will be expelled from the party Biti said the decision was now entirely up to the national executive committee.
Sources however said a Gweru-based MP and another Harare-based MPs were coordinating the marches and were later confronted by party youths on why they were urging members to take part in the demonstrations against the party leadership.
Party sources said the MPs involved will be expelled as Tsvangirai seeks to assert his authority over the party and contain divisions already rocking it.
The MDC women’s congress was initially supposed to be held in Emakhandeni but was moved to a city restaurant owned by Khupe after a group loyal to Matibenga had barricaded the initial venue of the congress.
However, Matibenga was not deterred as she led a group of singing women to Khupe’s restaurant where they demonstrated outside before they were dispersed by riot police.
The divisions within the Tsvangirai faction are set to split the opposition into three entities after the main party broke into two factions two years ago.
The Tsvangirai-led faction of the MDC recently dissolved the women’s assembly chaired by Matibenga on accusations of non-performance and factionalism.
Theresa Makone was subsequently elected chairperson of the women’s assembly to take over from Matibenga.