MDC-T to meet over Zanufication of the party

THE conflict-ridden MDC-T has called for crunch national executive and national council meetings to deal with clashes over plans to centralise power in the hands of former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which is being resisted by influential senior party officials, including deputy president Thokozani Khupe, who are equating the move to Zanufication of the party.

Owen Gagare/Elias Mambo

The differences come at a time the party is still smarting from a heavy electoral defeat in last year’s general elections. The loss triggered massive infighting which culminated in some officials, led by secretary-general Tendai Biti and treasurer general Elton Mangoma, breaking away.

Biti and Mangoma are now leading the MDC Renewal Team.
The MDC-T meetings to be held on Thursday and Friday next week come as a constitutional review committee headed by deputy chairperson Morgen Komichi has finished an outreach programme to collect the views of party members on the proposed constitutional changes.

If adopted, the amendments would result in the erosion of the secretary-general’s powers with most functions being put in the hands of the party president.

In addition the party would also have two vice-presidents while the party’s provinces would be reduced from 12 to 10.
The constitutional changes also seek to empower Tsvangirai to be able to appoint standing committee members.

The standing committee is chaired by the president and is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the party.

It consists of the president, deputy president, national chairperson, national vice-chairperson, secretary-general and his or her deputy, treasurer-general and deputy, national organising secretary and deputy, secretary for information and publicity, and the chairpersons of the women and youth assemblies.

While both the national executive and the national council are likely to approve the change from 12 to 10 provinces and the party having two vice-presidents, manoeuvres to centralise power in Tsvangirai’s hands are likely to be resisted, as they are being seen as undemocratic.

Officials believe Tsvangirai is sponsoring the constitutional amendments and is using his loyalists to push them through.
However, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka dismissed such allegations claiming MDC-T is a democratic party.

“Tsvangirai has spent half of his life fighting dictatorship and one dictator in the form of (President) Robert Mugabe is enough,” Tamborinyoka said. “Zimbabwe has had a bad experience of autocracy and we cannot allow this process to degenerate into creation of an all-powerful individual in the party.”

Party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the proposed amendments would be scrutinised next week.

“We will discuss all the proposals next week on Thursday and Friday and only then will we be in a position to say which amendments would have sailed through. Right now what we have are mere proposals from individuals,” Mwonzora said.

Mwonzora, together with other senior party officials such as Nelson Chamisa who are said to be against the amendments, denied the proposals were meant to concentrate power in the hands of Tsvangirai.
“How do we judge that before the amendments are tabled and deliberated on by the national executive and the national council,” he said.
A standing committee member opposed to the move said there was a danger the party would create another “dictator in the mould of Mugabe” if Tsvangirai is given sweeping powers.

“Allowing him to appoint members of the standing committee would be a betrayal of the democratic struggle. We are supposed to be a democratic movement, as our name suggests, but there is an attempt to move us towards dictatorship and autocracy. We are calling it the Zanufication of MDC,” said the official.

“In any organisation, administrative power is in the hands of the secretary-general; so attempts to usurp the SG’s powers are unfortunate and should be resisted.”

Tsvangirai’s backers, among them Komichi who are vigorously pushing for the constitutional changes, are arguing that the party constitution gives too much power to the secretary-general.
Tsvangirai has faced rebellion from two of his former secretaries-general in Welshman Ncube, who led a breakaway group in 2005, and Biti who was “expelled” from the party earlier this year and leads a splinter formation.

MDC-T sources said those pushing for the amendments argue that there would be greater stability in the party if power was concentrated in the presidency. Party officials said most people who were interviewed by the constitutional review committee supported the move for Tsvangirai to consolidate power. But some MDC-T officials believe Tsvangirai’s backers coached party members and in some cases doctored the reports.

Tsvangirai’s backers also insist the constitutional review is important as it will realign the party constitution with the national constitution. The national constitution has two vice-presidents while the country has 10 administrative provinces.
“Any party that is ready to rule should align its constitution to that of the country and we are just doing the same before our congress,” said an official.

“Zimbabwe’s constitution has provision for two vice-presidents and this is the constitution which the MDC championed during the coalition government era. There is nothing Zanu PF about this; the MDC was the driver of the country’s new constitution and we cannot be seen doing the opposite of what we created.”

12 thoughts on “MDC-T to meet over Zanufication of the party”

  1. maita says:

    I don’t hate Tsvangirayi so what I am going to ask him is just an honest question. May I ask him why he is happy to have his position not contested. We all know he is popular and he must prove us all wrong kuti vana Mbiti vanyare but if he shields himself away from elections this question asks questions. These amendments would not be bad if the president’s position is also contestable. I asked the same question to Chamisa before elections if their idea of confirmation is not dictatorial and he avoided the question but the result was a protest vote is some areas. In good case was Bikita Wets won by Kereke, Kereke was a beneficiary of Chamisa way of handling the Shoko/Ndongwe issue were as he assured Ndongwe of a primary election he was endorsing Shoko as confirmed and disgruntled people voted Kereke when they heard Kereke had been fired by ZanuPF.

  2. maita says:

    Tsvangirayi, I am going to ask him is just an honest question. May I ask him why he is happy to have his position not contested. We all know he is popular and he must prove us all wrong kuti vana Mbiti vanyare but if he shields himself away from elections this question asks questions. These amendments would not be bad if the president’s position is also contestable. I asked the same question to Chamisa before elections if their idea of confirmation is not dictatorial and he avoided the question but the result was a protest vote is some areas. In good case was Bikita Wets won by Kereke, Kereke was a beneficiary of Chamisa way of handling the Shoko/Ndongwe issue were as he assured Ndongwe of a primary election he was endorsing Shoko as confirmed and disgruntled people voted Kereke when they heard Kereke had been fired by ZanuPF.

  3. tabonga says:

    MDC-T no longer newsworthy. Zimbabwe’s hope lies in the demise of some Zanu members and the rising of some progressive ones

  4. dad says:

    Thats tru,MDC will never rule as they cant take opportunities,cant strategies and want to be seen as champions of change yet they ar dead scared of risks.Power wil always remain in Zanu bt in a different class of leaders.nothing much wil change.

  5. Mduduzi says:

    MDC-T IS already zanufucated and will not tolerate any criticism of its abysmal failure to deliver democracy to the people at the last election. Tsvangirai is a repetitive failure. He has had his chances. He is more interested in CIO women than winning election and he supports violence.

    What Zimbabwe needs now is more intelligent leadership who put Zimbabwe ahead of their sexual desires.

    It is time to look at a coalition of unity with diversity. Zunde, Transform Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Social Democrats and MDC Renewal and others need to form a new alliance based on mutual respect and diversity. Tsvangirai must be abandoned to his shrinking tent.

  6. muntu says:

    for Mdc-t to be progressive three people needs to be re-assigned Vice President Thokozani Khupe,National Chairman Lovemore Moyo and Nelson Chamisa.The mantioned people are creating fiefdoms at the same time cripling democracy in Mdc-t

  7. Doubtful Nehwede says:

    Tsvangirai is like a very promising student who, out of the blue, starts drinking alcohol and wasting time on marijuana and girls. The people of Zimbabwe had bestowed their trust on the fellow but he abused the people’s trust. What a pity!

  8. Tamirira “coup” led by Jocelyn Chiwenga’s ex and one of the factions. Ko vamwe ava vanofa riniko tibvisirwe this govt with an appetite to spend what they don’t have?

    If there is a “gona” I will steal it topudza zvimwe zviyende.

  9. Mhofu Chaiyo says:

    Dictators are never born, they are created by weak personalities around them! The late Eddison Zvobgo created the current ZANU (PF) crisis by crafting a very dangerous party constitution! MDC-T is doing it. In SA there is stability in parties because there are no sacred cows in the ANC and the DA has learnt from the ANC! Chamisa and company are doing to Tsvangirai what Rugare Gumbo said some ZANU (PF) top leaders were doing to President Mugabe!

  10. Chris Veremu says:

    Zanufication of the MDC (presidency?) is the natural progression of things in the land..The party president was the former boss of the ZCTU which was like COSATU in SA a third leg for ZANU. He sat in this position for close on 16 years from 83 or thereabouts to 1999 and became president of the MDC to date. Now he says with a straight face that he would like to continue as president of same at the congress in October..So perhaps the leader boss is THE one Zanunised and there really should be no surprise there..his roots in public office are firmly anchored in ZANU. But then he is not alone..is he? Look at Dabengwa and his ZAPU, Ncube and his invisible MDC and Madhuku with his NCA..It appears staying glued to the top has become a national tradition. I guess our political class have their mind made up, they are going nowhere, whether we like them or not. That they are blocking the doorway to national progress is lost on them…funny thing is they come with smiling faces to ask us to cheer for them. Whether this is hubris or madness is toss up..The end result of course is that the country continues to slip fast down the tubes and these guys can not be bothered as long as they stay welded on to the top of their respective parties and they are quite happy to tell themselves that this is democracy..Democracy, yah? I suppose if it walks like a cow, looks like a cow and moos like one then it must be a cow yah? For 15 years we have been sinking fast at worst at best we have stood still like Coleridge would say:”Still as painted ship upon a painted sea”…and for this paradise we find ourselves we have our political class to thank. Bravo????

  11. Chris Veremu says:

    Coleridge of the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” fame has this to say if one were to transpose what he had to say and transpose it on our fight for democracy, “We were still as painted ship upon a painted sea”. Where else in the world is there a group of politicians who appear determined to stall national progress with a dogged determination than we have here in Zimbabwe? Zanu has been standing on the door of progress armed to the teeth while the MDC T appears determined to do the same, only they use trickery to block same doorway. Ncube and Madhuku have joined in the pantomime with equal gusto..Biti and his crowd mean time refuse to be left out, now they do not tell us where they are headed but all the pointers appear to be in place for doing more of the same. What have Zimbabweans done to deserve these people? Being the idiot optimist, I am sure there some among our 13 million who will save us all…but one thing for sure is the current crop has FAILED us big time! A real breath of fresh air will blow over the land once these men and women quietly sitting in the shadows decide that they can not take this high grade nonsense anymore. I pray the day they do this is somewhere near soon.

  12. Zim chaos says:

    Yes what have we done to deserve this lot? We are a cursed lot.Meanwhile the pantomime that is Zimbabwe politics plays on.

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