By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
11 February 2014
MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora has reacted angrily to suggestions that party President Morgan Tsvangirai abused funds.
Accusations of financial impropriety were carried in the privately-run NewsDay last week.
The paper quoted some senior party officials who said the raging infighting over Tsvangirai’s leadership stemmed from his misuse of funds.
Last month, deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma asked the MDC-T leader to step down, and raised questions about the lack of financial accountability within the party.
“How will we put closure to the question of misuse of funds, and ensure that our friends regain confidence that donations will be channelled to the people’s project going forward?” Mangoma asked in his letter to Tsvangirai.
The officials who spoke to NewsDay alleged that some donors had withdrawn their support for the MDC-T, citing a lack of accountability in the party finances.
A person purporting to be Roy Bennett wrote on the Newsday discussion forum, standing by the allegations that Tsvangirai “took liberties with party funds”. SW Radio Africa was not able to speak to Bennett as he was said to be travelling.
On Monday party spokesman Mwonzora furiously denied the allegations which he said were malicious, adding that Tsvangirai is not directly involved in the disbursement of funds.
“All major financial decisions of the party are made by the Finance and Administration Committee chaired by the Secretary General of the Party.
“It is therefore impossible for the President of the Party to allocate financial resources of the Party by himself without the Treasury Department or the Administration of the party’s involvement,” Mwonzora said in a statement.
In a separate response to the statements attributed to Bennett, Mwonzora said: “If indeed Mr Bennett genuinely wanted an audit into the MDC finances then he would have made his request to the Standing Committee, the National Executive or the National Council of the Party justifying his reasons for such a demand.
“Further he would not have waited for a Newsday article to make his statement. We therefore doubt very much the authenticity of the author of this letter.”
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said the two MDC-T factions were being shortsighted and immature in failing to resolve their problems.
“But the current cracks are a sign of leadership fatigue and the best thing to do for Tsvangirai is to subject himself to peer review and fixing what needs to be fixed, even if it means admitting that he’s failed to deliver the mission without waiting for a structure to say it,” Ngwenya said.
He said while calls for a financial audit were legitimate, as allegations of financial misuse go to the heart of political accountability and transparency, this was not possible with a party such as the MDC-T which receives donor funding.
“It is illegal in Zimbabwe for political parties to receive external funding and the MDC-T and its financiers know that they can’t audit without revealing who has been funding the party.”
Ngwenya said it was up to the MDC-T leadership, if they see themselves as the government-in-waiting, to behave in a morally blameless manner because their behavior now has implications on how they will manage the public purse should they ever come into power.
To read Mwonzora’s statements, click here