The resolution was passed at a provincial council meeting held at Edmund Davis Hall in Hwange on Saturday.
The prime minister has led the party since its formation in 1999 and new leadership is expected to be elected next year. Tsvangirai’s second term as MDC-T president is due to lapse at the end of the year.
MDC-T insiders who attended the meeting said Binga district’s John Sikabotu moved the motion that Tsvangirai should not step down as party leader before he wins an election against Mugabe, 86, possibly next year.
“All the 13 districts in Matabeleland North were unanimous that Tsvangirai should lead MDC-T until he rules the country,” said a Matabeleland North provincial council member.
“We can’t talk of real change if Mugabe is still in power. Therefore everyone in Matabeleland North agreed that Tsvangirai’s two terms will end once he goes to State House.”
Tsvangirai is on a tour of provinces in a move party insiders say is a strategy to bolster his chances of remaining MDC-T president.
Since its inception, MDC-T has struggled to remove Mugabe from power. International and local election observers and the international community have accused Mugabe of rigging successive elections since 2000.
Tsvangirai’s vote of confidence came as the MDC-T president tasked party national chairman Lovemore Moyo to investigate divisions which are bedevilling the party in its Matabeleland North stronghold.
Sources said Tsvangirai assigned Lovemore Moyo, Hwange West MP Gift Mabhena, and Hwange East legislator Tose Sansole to investigate and give the MDC-T standing committee a comprehensive report on the divisions. The standing committee is responsible for the MDC day-to-day administration and is chaired by Tsvangirai. Moyo was not at the meeting as he was in Switzerland.
Tsvangirai met the Matabeleland North provincial executive before addressing supporters in Hwange last weekend. Authoritative party sources said Tsvangirai heard allegations that some MDC-T officials had remained aligned to Zanu PF central committee member Jonathan Moyo, resulting in friction. Moyo won the Tsholotsho North seat as an independent candidate with support from the MDC-T before he rejoined Zanu PF.
Problems in the troubled province date back to 2008 when MDC-T provincial council members Sengezo Tshabangu and Lwazi Sibanda campaigned for Moyo in parliamentary polls. Tshabangu is the MDC-T Matabeleland North chairman while businesswoman Sibanda is the Tsholotsho North district chairperson. Both of them command support in the constituency.
During last week’s meeting, the prime minister ordered a report into fights involving party officials in Tsholotsho, according to sources. Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo is accused of advancing his wife, Rosemary, to be a candidate in the next polls.
Sources said Sipepa Nkomo has the support of provincial council member Clever Gumede. Sibanda is also said to be eyeing the seat, according to the same sources.
Sipepa Nkomo denied that he was campaigning for his wife.
“I was not at the meeting in Hwange because I was in Harare. Those who are accusing my wife of harbouring political ambitions are lying,” he said. Sibanda and Gumede, sources said, exchanged harsh words during the provincial council meeting, after which Tsvangirai ordered them to build bridges.
The MDC-T did not field a candidate in Tsholotsho North during the harmonised 2008 elections but rallied behind Moyo, only for the former Information minister to rejoin President Robert Mugabe’s party.
Publicly, Moyo has denied working with MDC-T to secure his seat in the House of Assembly.
MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed that a provincial council meeting was held but claimed that the gathering focused on solving issues in party structures.
“We are having provincial council meetings to audit party structures,” he said.
“We have been to Manicaland and this week we are going to Matabeleland South, so there was nothing special about the Matabeleland North provincial council.”