HomeOpinionViolence: MDC-T to expel errant members

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The party’s national executive committee last week discussed a report compiled by a five-member commission led by human rights lawyer Trust Maanda which was set up to investigate violence which rocked the MDC-T’s provincial elections.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said after the meeting that  the national executive went through the report and resolved to punish those involved in the violence.
Mwonzora said: “We discussed the intra-party violence and the party took a stance that whoever is involved risks expulsion from the party. I cannot give details of the report as it is still under discussion.”

MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai told Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday at the Independence Day celebrations in Harare that: “We will give you the full information once we have considered the whole report”.

Maanda, who headed the commission, said the report took about four months to compile as the commission went province by province interviewing hundreds of people.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss contents of the report but we met with almost everyone, from the lowest party member to the highest office,” said Maanda. “It was democracy at work and it was very candid.”

The inquiry recommended fresh elections in structures in Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Chinhoyi district and Masvingo urban following complaints that they were not substantive during the national congress.

Party sources said the inquiry implicated a number of senior officials, some of whom are members of the national executive, as instigators of the violence. The commission is said to have suggested that the party disqualify any candidate whose supporters used violence as a means of campaigning.

Most provinces covered by the inquiry raised concerns that the notice period for holding their elections was less than two weeks, despite that Section 5.5 of the party’s constitution states notice periods should be no less than 30 days.

Districts most affected by this short notice are Mutare Central, Chipinge Central and Masvingo urban where there were no structures in place up to the time of the party’s national congress. The issues remain un-addressed.

The provinces complained of a lack of transparency and criteria for the appointment of organising teams and observers who conducted and observed the party’s provincial polls.

There are complaints that there was interference by some members of the national executive in nominations for the party’s top positions. The commission recommended the MDC-T be educated on political tolerance and that the party should focus its attention on internal democracy as it was under threat.

The commission also observed that “sharp and distinct” parallel structures existed in Manicaland between the current provincial executive and losing candidates. Masvingo, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East also had parallel structures, though not as pronounced.

Most members interviewed by the commission indicated the MDC-T was riddled with factions even though no one could provide evidence. The inquiry criticised the MDC-T for lacking an effective grievance-handling procedure ad conflict resolution mechanism.

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