FIREWORKS are expected at the MDC-T’s national executive meeting today as calls for leadership renewal intensify after the party’s deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma joined the chorus for an early congress.
As fissures continue to widen, Mangoma last week joined other top party leaders like party national treasurer Roy Bennett and standing committee members Ian Kay, Eddie Cross and Elias Mudzuri, who have called on party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to step down after losing three consecutive elections to President Robert Mugabe.
Mangoma, a former Minister of Energy in the inclusive government, wrote a four-page letter urging Tsvangirai to resign and allow fresh blood ahead of the 2018 elections.
Mangoma’s letter torched a storm with some party officials declaring their allegiance to Tsvangirai while others believe a new leader is needed to break the jinx of perennially playing opposition politics.
One senior official, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said if he could counsel Tsvangirai he would tell him to step aside.
“If I were to advise him I would tell him to step aside and allow for a new team to be chosen that embraces other progressive forces from trade unions, churches, civic societies, students and business, so that we do not become a perpetual opposition party,” the official said.
Another official said whilst the majority of people may want Tsvangirai to resign, they are not in a position to tell him because they fear purges and victimisation.
“Some of us support Mangoma’s motion but already there are threats to our lives by the camp that wants Tsvangirai to remain at the helm of the party,” said the party member.
“It is that fear which causes people to remain quiet because already we have reports that some members were attacked by the youths at Harvest House.”
Battle lines are already drawn as some senior MDC-T officials have declared that if the issue is brought up at the meeting they would stand by their leader. Charlton Hwende, a national executive member in charge of Mashonaland West province and a Tsvangirai loyalist, urged Mangoma to resign if he is not happy with Tsvangirai’s leadership.
“Political parties are voluntary associations of individuals who share a common vision, ideology and beliefs so since it is now clear that our colleague, Mangona’s views about how we should reach the new Zimbabwe are now at variance with what the ordinary MDC members and all our constitutional structures, he must do the honourable thing and disengage or disembark from the freedom train that is being driven by Tsvangirai,” Hwende said.
MDC-T’s former deputy justice minister Obert Gutu also said there is need to adhere to the constitution when handling party issues.
“Some of us are slaves of constitutionalism and as such we cannot be party to the treacherous and Machiavellian calls for the unconstitutional removal of our leader,” he said.
“Anyone who wants to call for the removal of the party leader or any other leader for that matter should strictly adhere to the dictates and provisions of the MDC-T constitution. Thus we will not listen to a treacherous and mischievous message that is being delivered by a Judas Iscariot masquerading as a democrat. That we will never accept.”
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Mangoma’s issue should not be blown out of proportion because the party decides by majority vote.
“This issue was rejected by the standing committee and it is water under the bridge,” Mwonzora said.