FORMER Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga has urged the MDC-T to start an open debate on leadership renewal, adding his voice to calls by a group of senior party officials pushing for discussion on party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s succession.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, Matinenga revealed he met Tsvangirai to discuss his succession plan and problems rocking the party.
“I have discussed with president Tsvangirai after the Mangoma incident and advised him that we need a mediating process so that we resolve the issues. We have all made mistakes at one point or another and no one is a saint so it must not be taboo to express one’s views,” he said.
“I spoke to Tsvangirai and asked him about his plans and he said he has a plan and he encouraged the succession debate to be discussed…It was an open meeting where I wanted to understand his plan because this is what any democratic party should discuss so that we paint a different picture from that of Zanu PF.”
Sharp cracks have emerged in MDC-T after expelled deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma wrote two letters to Tsvangirai urging him to either resign and handover the reins to deputy president Thokozani Khupe until a congress is held or alternatively declare his intention to quit thereby necessitating an extra-ordinary congress.
Mangoma, who accused Tsvangirai of abusing party funds and tarnishing the party’s image through his personal indiscretions, said the MDC-T leader had failed to provide the party with effective leadership and had nothing new to offer, hence he should quit.
The situation however spiralled out of control when Mangoma’s letter was leaked to the press culminating in him being assaulted at the party’s Harvest House headquarters while several officials thought to be supporting the leadership renewal bid were suspended.
Mangoma, secretary-general for the youth assembly Promise Mkhwananzi, national council member Last Maengahama and Mangoma’s lawyer Jacob Mafume have since been expelled from the party although they have declared their expulsion null and void.
Officials supporting Tsvangirai among them organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora have accused Zanu PF and the Central Intelligence Organisation of fuelling divisions in the party.