By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
17 March 2014
The MDC-T might convene an early congress in December this year, party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said on Monday.
Following a series of consultative meetings in the past fortnight, to look at the modalities of an early congress, Mwonzora said there is a general agreement it will be possible to move forward the congress from 2016 to 2014.
‘If we get the resources, the congress will be held in December this year, but otherwise the party had settled for March 2015,’ Mwonzora said, adding that the only thing holding the party back was lack of funds.
The shifting of the date for the congress coincides with spirited attempts by a section of party supporters that is clamoring for a leadership renewal, following the defeat of the party by ZANU PF in elections held last year. The MDC-T and other opposition groups claim the poll was rigged, a claim denied by President Robert Mugabe’s party.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has refused to step down as asked by the suspended deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma, who wrote a letter requesting that he relinquish his post.
After a copy of the four-page letter was leaked to the media two camps emerged within the MDC-T, one in favour of the party leader stepping down and the other solidly standing behind Tsvangirai.
It appears both camps will want to use the congress to settle the issue, although it appears the former trade unionist is gaining ground against his opponents, who seem not to enjoy support from the grassroots level.
Tsvangirai told party supporters on Saturday in Bulawayo that it was not true the movement was crumbling under the weight of internal divisions over leadership renewal.
He said this would never happen as long as Zimbabweans yearn for a change due to problems brought about by the ruling party, dismissing as an exaggeration the widely held perception that the MDC-T was on the verge of collapse. He argued that it was on a vigorous rejuvenation path, similar to the spirit of 1999 when the party was formed as a workers’ movement.
The party’s national chairman, Lovemore Moyo, on Saturday said they would not waste time begging those calling for a leadership renewal to remain in the party, claiming that they were being used by ZANU PF to destabilise the opposition party.
Speaking in Bulawayo, where the party introduced members who have rejoined since the 2005 split, Moyo reiterated that the MDC-T was a voluntary movement and disgruntled members were free to leave.
The members introduced on Saturday included Job Sikhala and former Mangwe MP Edward Mkhosi and former Insiza South MP Siyabonga Malandu, both former legislators from the MDC led by Welshman Ncube.