By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
29 April 2014
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti has been expelled from the party following his weekend ‘plot’ to oust party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a ‘palace coup.’
Biti’s deputy secretary-general, Tapiwa Mashakada, has been appointed the acting secretary-general until October this year when the party holds an early Congress to elect its new national leadership for the next five years.
Biti’s renewal team met at Mandel training centre in Harare on Saturday and resolved to suspend Tsvangirai and six top officials for ‘fascist’ tendencies and failing to oust ZANU PF leader President Robert Mugabe. However at a meeting of the national council held at Harvest House, the party headquarters on Tuesday, the MDC-T council members voted to expel Biti.
Party chairman Lovemore Moyo said 162 out of 167 members in attendance voted in favour of the motion to expel Biti in terms of article 2 of their party constitution.
Nine MPs who attended the Biti meeting will be recalled from Parliament. The MPs include Biti (Harare East) Willas Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo, KweKwe), Solomon Madzore (Dzivarasweka) and Paul Madzore (Glen View South). All other members who attended the Saturday meeting, like suspended deputy-treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and youth assembly secretary-general Promise Mkwananzi, have also been expelled.
The MDC-T, sensing that the renewal camp might contest the convening of the meeting on Tuesday, went as far as recording proceedings on video, took photos of all delegates and had a register all of bona fide members of the council who attended the crucial meeting.
Addressing a press conference, Tsvangirai told journalists that the move to expel Biti does not constitute a split, but that they are individuals who decided to form their own party taking into account their actions on Saturday.
He said Mangoma and Biti have not personally betrayed him but the people of Zimbabwe. The media briefing was attended by Theresa Makone, Thokozani Khupe, Jameson Timba, Dr Henry Madzorera, Morgan Komichi, Nelson Chamisa and Mashakada, all members of Tsvangirai’s cabinet in the government of national unity.
A large crowd gathered outside Harvest House and at the end of the press conference the deputy national organizing secretary, Abednico Bhebhe, announced Biti’s expulsion to the crowd, sparking cheers and celebrations.
What happens now, no one knows, but this feud could end up in court.
Journalist and social commentator Tapiwa Gomo told SW Radio Africa’s Speak Out Padare program that the fresh crisis in the MDC-T is a manifestation of a natural process where different interest groups are beginning to emerge and showing their differences to the other faction.
He said the MDC has always been a coalition of people who are against ZANU PF, but differed ideologically in the way they approached politics.