By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
09 June 2014
Former Mutare Mayor Brian James has resigned his position as the MDC-T provincial treasurer for Manicaland, citing corruption and violence as some of the ‘many and varied reasons’ for his move.
In a letter to the party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, James said he was ‘dismayed’ at the ‘careless and unnecessary’ actions of some members, which he said amounted to ‘heinous crimes’ and were ‘contrary to the party’s founding principles.’
James said his concerns backdate to the party’s primary elections ahead of the 2013 national polls and to his subsequent suspension as the Mutare mayor. He said there was ‘confusion in the party about legitimacy of various meetings.’
James’s resignation also comes after his fallout with other senior provincial members from the Tsvangirai faction over control of party assets in the Manicaland province.
The former mayor belongs to the Renewal Team, an MDC-T faction so called after Secretary General Tendai Biti led an attempt to ‘renew’ the party leadership by ‘suspending’ Tsvangirai. The attempt, which came after the assault and expulsion of deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma, for asking Tsvangirai to resign his position, has since seen the party split into two distinct factions. Since the split, violent clashes between the rival factions over the control of party assets have been reported from various provinces.
Confirming his resignation, the former mayor narrated his grievances to SW Radio Africa and said it has “become too much for me.” James said some members were simply interested in positions and as such he did not see the MDC-T mounting ‘a credible challenge against ZANU PF in any election at this stage.’
He said: “These people clearly have other interests. There is not talk about how to improve service delivery in urban areas, no talk about the voters roll or the reforms which we voted for in the new constitution.”
James said there were many within the party who felt like him and it was only a matter of time before they come out.
The former mayor also confirmed his support for leadership renewal in the party.
He said: “I support the principle of renewal in any democratic party; it is a natural phenomenon. The storm that has come as a result of calls for change has been blown out of proportion; we could have dealt with that through internal processes but people surrounding the president had other ideas and perhaps ambitions.”
James’s comments come after Tsvangirai’s loyalists accused the Renewal Team of trying to seek leadership change through ‘undemocratic and un-procedural methods.’ MDC-T national organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa recently said the party was not splitting, but rather it was going through a process of ‘purification.’