MDC-T congress preps hit by funding crunch

THE MDC-T, which is struggling to raise funds for its congress to be held next month in Harare, will be forced to cut its budget by reducing the number the delegates from the planned 10 000 and combining the youth, women’s and main congresses.

Wongai Zhangazha

According to party sources, the MDC-T congress is now penciled for October 30 to November 1 at the City Sports Centre.

Last month, the MDC-T said it was going to combine the youth, women’s and main congresses as a cost-cutting measure as there was little time for the different wings to mobilise funds for three separate congresses.

The MDC-T had planned for 10 000 people to attend its elective congress, which was brought forward from the scheduled 2016 following calls for party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to step down, which led to a split with party secretary-general Tendai Biti forming a splinter group.

The party’s traditional donors also reportedly withdrew their funding and sources said the money would only be released if they reunited.

To make matters worse, the MDC-T is still to receive money under the Political Parties Finance Act, which they largely banked on to fund its activities.

The MDC-T claims that it is owed close to US$5 million by government.

Due to lack of resources, the party is also looking for donations to feed the delegates.

MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday confirmed the October 30 dates and the venue for the congress, but denied the party had funding problems.

Said Chamisa: “The dates 30, 31 October and the 1st of November were set by the party’s national council and if you check the history of our party’s congresses, we have always held the women’s and youth congresses prior to the main congress.”

Asked on the availability of funds to host the congress amid allegations that the party is struggling to raise funds, he said: “Our party is always self-financing. It is built on pillars of service and sacrifice. Anything else that is said is speculation and speculation is not helpful to your readers. Some of the issues are internal arrangements and details will be made available soon by the (acting) secretary-general (Tapiwa Mashakada).”

Chamisa said apart from the elections, the congress was going to look into five critical issues that included a roadmap to a new Zimbabwe.

“We are going to look at institutional transformation, that is looking at the internal systems, procedures and structures and how to make them more effective democratically. The congress will also handle the issue of policy reforms and view people’s aspirations and expectations, discussing current challenges affecting the country on account of Zanu PF,” he said.

“There will be a review of the party’s constitution, making sure that we tighten it effectively, addressing challenges facing the party and we are almost concluding that.”

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