MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his national executive council held a two-day retreat at Mendel Training Centre on the outskirts of Harare where sources said some senior officials were baying for the blood of organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, accusing him of failing to rally party structures as they felt rigging alone could not account for the party’s defeat by Zanu PF.
Sources said besides Chamisa, all senior MDC-T officials were under fire for the party’s loss.
Tsvangirai is trying to unite his troops amid alleged deepening fissures triggered by the unexpected crushing defeat in the July 31 general elections.
Sources alleged in an incident last Saturday, Chamisa was made to wait outside for arriving late for a meeting between councillors and Tsvangirai, who was furious with him.
Insiders also claimed Chamisa wanted to run campaigns single-handedly without consulting others, particularly those from the 2008 election campaign who successfully mobilised for an MDC-T win in the disputed poll.
“The leadership is baying for Chamisa’s blood as he is being largely blamed for failing to put proper structures in place and imposing candidates who had no grassroots support,” said the source.
“The organising team made too many mistakes and this demoralised the grassroots who thought we had turned dictatorial, especially by imposing candidates in some constituencies when it was clear they (the candidates) were weaker compared to Zanu PF candidates.
“The party made suicidal errors judging from the voting patterns and it is time to read the writing on the wall and do some self-introspection if we want to dethrone Zanu PF and (President Robert) Mugabe,” one source said.
However, Tsvangirai is reportedly defending Chamisa, saying one person cannot win an election despite last weekend’s incident.
“Tsvangirai is fighting in Chamisa’s corner saying everyone should take responsibility and forge a way forward in order to prepare for the next elections,” said the source.
The MDC-T has also endorsed Tsvangirai as party leader contrary to reports claiming it wants him to resign after failing to dislodge Mugabe.
“If we are in full belief that the election was stolen, then we have to have faith in our president (Tsvangirai),” the source said. “We are doing a post-mortem of the election loss and coming up with possible resolute strategies.
“We are taking a cue from Zanu PF which retreated after its 2008 election defeat and came up with strategies that may have contributed to its victory this time around,” the source said.
However, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the retreat was not a fault-finding mission, but a process of mapping a way forward.
“We had a two-day closed door meeting where we all agreed that we should re-organise, re-energise and re-strategise with a view to taking over power in the not-so-distant future,” said Mwonzora.
Although the MDC-T alleges the July 31 polls were rigged, the courts and Sadc have already endorsed Mugabe, leaving Tsvangirai and his party with limited options.
Chamisa last night refused to comment instead blaming his internal rivals for the story.