By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
27 January 2014
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is facing a fresh revolt within his party, by a faction that wants him to step down, amid fears there is an imminent split in the movement.
Deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma is leading the latest challenge and has confirmed authoring a letter that he personally handed over to Tsvangirai last week at his Highlands house.
It is believed Tsvangirai summoned Mangoma to explain himself. Mangoma is now among some other senior leaders who have come out in the open about their desire to see Tsvangirai quit.
Others who have made public their opinions are treasurer general Roy Bennett and former organising secretary and MP for Warren Park, Elias Mudzuri.
Tsvangirai reportedly invited secretary general Tendai Biti and deputy president Thokozani Khupe to be present as witnesses during his no-holds barred meeting with Mangoma.
A source told SW Radio Africa that while Mangoma and his allies are not advocating for a split, they remain adamant that a new leader is needed to turn around the fortunes of the party that has a failed to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power since its formation 15 years ago.
‘It is my unbending resolve that leadership renewal, at this juncture, could be the only avenue to restoring the credibility of the party lest it risks being confined to history.
‘At a time when confidence is plummeting, there is need for the MDC to freshen up, create fresh impetus and rally its troops to remain united and focused. However, this impetus cannot and will not be created if the leadership status quo is preserved,’ said Mangoma in his four-page letter to Tsvangirai.
The letter formed much of what was debated on Friday last week in the standing committee, at which the top leadership agreed not to call for an early congress, as suggested by Tsvangirai, in trying to fend off a leadership challenge.
However, what has emerged in the aftermath are spirited efforts by those behind the party leader to expose and shame individuals behind the latest plot.
Others are happy that Mangoma raised the issue and are solidly behind his attempts to settle the leadership crisis once and for all. An MDC-T MP said people should not ‘shoot the messenger’ by baying for Mangoma’s blood, when all he wanted to do was save the party from collapse.
‘We claim to be a democratic party so we don’t see anything wrong with what Mangoma has done. We have got structures in our constituencies and you will be surprised that many of our members agree with what he raised in that letter,’ the MP said.
The legislator added that by crushing dissent, they will no longer be different from ZANU PF, saying the only difference at the moment was that the ruling party has a propensity of killing its opponents and sending them to the ‘heroes acres’ while the MDC-T is currently engaged in ‘character assassinations.’
Asked to confirm reports of an imminent split, a disgruntled provincial chairman of the MDC-T said only time will tell ‘as we are now a replica of ZANU PF.’
‘There is nothing to sacrifice for, we are simply waiting to go nowhere as Tsvangirai has said he’s not going nowhere.’