Ts­van­gi­rai whips mem­bers into line

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Zva­maida Mur­wira Harare Bureau

MDC-T leader Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai yes­ter­day re­port­edly forced na­tional coun­cil mem­bers to en­dorse Ad­vo­cate Nelson Chamisa and En­gi­neer Elias Mudzuri as party vice pres­i­dents lest they be purged ahead of the 2018 gen­eral elec­tions.

Sev­eral se­nior party mem­bers from the stand­ing com­mit­tee had openly op­posed Mr Ts­van­gi­rai’s ap­point­ments a fort­night ago re­sult­ing in the meet­ing held at his High­lands res­i­dence in Harare be­ing aborted.

But in yes­ter­day’s meet­ing, sources said na­tional coun­cil mem­bers were forced to sup­port the de­ci­sion by Mr Ts­van­gi­rai or ruin their fu­ture in the party.

How­ever, the party’s Mata­bele­land North, Bu­l­awayo and South African prov­inces re­fused to be cowed and op­posed the ap­point­ment ar­gu­ing that the de­ci­sion was meant to weaken cur­rent vice pres­i­dent Ms Thokozani Khupe.

“Most na­tional coun­cil mem­bers were whipped into line in the run up to this meet­ing. They were threat­ened that if they op­posed pres­i­dent Ts­van­gi­rai, they risked be­ing purged dur­ing se­lec­tion of party can­di­dates ahead of the 2018 polls. That alone was enough to in­stil fear among mem­bers,” said a se­nior party mem­ber.

An­other source said Bu­l­awayo, Mata­bele­land South and South African prov­inces were quite vo­cal af­ter they re­fused to budge.

“The three prov­inces were clear that the ap­point­ment was meant to weaken Ms Khupe whom in their view has been loyal to Mr Ts­van­gi­rai. But the three prov­inces were in the mi­nor­ity and as a re­sult Mr Ts­van­gi­rai pre­vailed. To demon­strate that Mr Ts­van­gi­rai’s ap­point­ments was not in good faith, why did he make the an­nounce­ment at his res­i­dence to­gether with his wife El­iz­a­beth,” said a se­nior mem­ber of the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied for fear of reprisals.

When con­tacted for com­ment, MDC-T spokesper­son Mr Obert Gutu con­firmed the en­dorse­ment of the ap­point­ment of Adv Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri as party vice pres­i­dents.

“The VPs were en­dorsed by the na­tional coun­cil in our meet­ing. The mat­ter sur­round­ing this is­sue is now a closed chap­ter,” said Mr Gutu in his brief re­sponse.

An­other source said party sec­re­tary gen­eral, Mr Dou­glas Mwon­zora, pre­sented a re­port to the na­tional coun­cil in his ca­pac­ity as chair­per­son of the party’s con­sti­tu­tional draft.

“Mr Mwon­zora’s re­port ba­si­cally was to say the new con­sti­tu­tional draft al­lowed the party to have more than one vice pres­i­dent. He, there­fore, said the na­tional coun­cil was sit­ting as congress to adopt the amend­ments which he said had been cir­cu­lated to prov­inces. To our sur­prise, we have never seen the doc­u­ment con­tain­ing the amend­ments that he said had cir­cu­lated in prov­inces,” said an­other source.

“There was a lot of ten­sion in to­day’s meet­ing. Party sec­re­tary gen­eral, Mr Dou­glas Mwon­zora, who is the chair­per­son of con­sti­tu­tional draft and le­gal af­fairs, pre­sented a re­port on con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments which con­tained the con­tentious is­sue of VPs. His re­port was to say con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions for more than one VP were there but had not yet been adopted. He, there­fore, said to­day’s na­tional coun­cil was sit­ting as congress for pur­poses of adopt­ing the said amend­ments,” said an­other mem­ber of the stand­ing com­mit­tee.

Fears had been that yes­ter­day’s meet­ing would have re­sulted in a split, barely a year af­ter an­other one that saw for­mer sec­re­tary gen­eral, Mr Tendai Biti and for­mer deputy trea­surer, Mr El­ton Man­goma leav­ing.

The two have since parted ways and have formed their own par­ties re­spec­tively.

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