DAGGERS are drawn against MDC-T deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma as senior officials loyal to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai pursue disciplinary action against him for “publicly embarrassing and humiliating” him by calling for his resignation.
Sources close to the latest developments said Tsvangirai wants Mangoma expelled.
“He (Tsvangirai) wrote a memo on Monday to (national chairman Lovemore) Moyo asking him to constitute a disciplinary committee,” said a highly-placed MDC-T official.
“On Tuesday Moyo wrote back saying there was need for a charge sheet to be presented to Mangoma but this has to conform to Article 12 of the MDC constitution which deals with disciplinary issues against members of the standing committee,” said the source.
According to the constitution a standing committee member can only be tried by an independent tribunal comprising of at least three lawyers, one of whom must be eligible for appointment as a High Court judge.
Party insiders also said Tsvangirai wants to call for a national council meeting where he is going to present a case for Mangoma’s suspension pending disciplinary action.
“It is inconceivable that such behaviour can be forgiven and no disciplinary action taken,” said a senior party official. “We are waiting for the dust to settle, then we will sit down and decide on what kind of disciplinary action we should take.”
Contrary to media reports that the feud between Tsvangirai and Mangoma was resolved on Sunday after the two parties privately met at the former premier’s Highlands residence and agreed to bury their differences, party insiders claim the issue is far from over as Tsvangirai is being pushed to use Mangoma as an example to deal with those calling for his resignation.
“We did not want the disciplinary action to attract much attention because the party does not want to project an image similar to that of Zanu PF where members are engaged in an unending succession battle,” said another senior party official.
But party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said no disciplinary action would be taken against Mangoma.
“Let it be known that no action will be taken against Mangoma for his letter because we are a democratic party and we do not punish people for their opinions,” Mwonzora said.
“However, the National Council resolved that those who put the party into disrepute by taking the debate to the press should be brought before the disciplinary committee.”
Moyo, in charge of the disciplinary committee, said the national council asked them to look into issues of indiscipline that arose out of the letter.
“If there is any process to be taken it has nothing to do with the paper but the indiscipline that rose as a result of the paper,” Moyo said.
“We respect advice from our party officials but it should be properly handled and they should retain respect for their president,” he said.
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 Tsvangirai to step down after losing three consecutive elections to President Robert Mugabe.
Mangoma, who was Minister of Energy in the inclusive government, wrote a four-page letter urging Tsvangirai to resign and allow fresh blood to take over ahead of the 2018 elections.
Mangoma’s letter torched a storm of controversy 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.