By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
04 June 2014
A group of UK-based MDC-T supporters met this weekend in the town of Luton, in the East of England, where they expressed their support for the renewal agenda.
The group is linked to a section of the party which is calling for leadership renewal, and queries current leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s effectiveness.
The meeting also saw the launch of an interim structure which will lead the Renewal Team’s political and fundraising activities in the UK.
After the meeting on Saturday, the Renewal Team issued a statement outlining their reasons for discarding Tsvangirai in favour of the Tendai Biti-led faction.
“With Tsvangirai as our leader we have been like eggs for 15 years and it seems we will remain thus as long as he is the leader.
“We are not willing to go on indefinitely being just ordinary, decent eggs. We must hatch or go bad and by all means that is how life should be.
“We do not see it as democracy to continue to give Tsvangirai endless chances to quench his own thirst for power the same way the leader of the regime the MDC was formed to unseat has done,” the Renewal group said in the statement signed by interim spokesman Lovemore Mazivisa.
The statement also raises the same issues that MDC-T deputy-treasurer Elton Mangoma referred to in his February letter which torched the current storm.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Wednesday, Mazivisa said under Tsvangirai’s leadership the party had failed to give due recognition to its Diaspora membership, except as a source of financial support.
“For some time now we have not had a properly constituted structure, notwithstanding that the diaspora fund raises for the party and subsidises its activities in various ways.”
In spite of the support, Mazivisa said the MDC-T had continued to sideline its UK membership, “and when they come here, it is to impose and not to listen to us”.
Stane Gonese, the MDC-T chairman for the Midlands South District, however disputed the Renewal Team’s version of events in Luton on Saturday.
He said most people who appear in the pictures posted by the Renewal team had joined the photo sessions without knowing that these would be used to further the Renewal agenda.
According to Gonese, some people were never informed that the Renewal group would be joining the day’s fundraising event.
“The Renewal people came in when preparations for the fundraiser, scheduled for later in the day, were already in progress. They held their meeting which was supposed to end before the MDC-T fundraising event started.
“When MDC-T members started arriving for the fundraising event the Renewal people started taking pictures without disclosing that these would be used for the Renewal project.
“Our members ignorantly posed for the pictures and were surprised to see that they had been labelled members of the Renewal project,” Gonese added.
But the Renewal UK spokesman rubbished suggestions that they may have hoodwinked some people into appearing in the pictures.
“Everyone knew that we were going to form an interim structure first and then fundraise. I did not see anyone who was pro-Tsvangirai during the event.
“If they were there, they failed to declare that as everyone knew beforehand that we were there constitute a Renewal Team interim structure,” he added.
Closer to home in South Africa, sympathisers of the Renewal cause met in the Joburg suburb of Diepsloot and endorsed calls for Tsvangirai to step aside.
At home, there was some good news for Tsvangirai with a report suggesting that donors who had tightened their purse strings may resume funding for the party.
According to the NewsDay some donors will be meeting Tsvangirai’s team in South Africa next week to discuss “how to continue working with the party”.
In Mutare, a faction aligned to the leader won a court battle to retain party assets following scuffles with the pro-Renewal group.