TOP officials in the MDC-T faction loyal to Morgan Tsvangirai have intensified consultations aimed at amending the party’s constitution to entrench his powers.
One of the major changes would be the weakening of the post of secretary-general in the wake of a rebellion led by incumbent Tendai Biti.
MDC-T recently said it had expelled Biti, but the former Finance minister had already led a pre-emptive coup against Tsvangirai by suspending him from the party. The leadership dispute is now likely to be settled through the courts with Biti’s renewal team saying it is pressing with plans to charge Tsvangirai.
MDC-T’s latest split mirrors the 2005 schisms where then secretary-general Welshman Ncube led a group that deserted Tsvangirai over his alleged dictatorial tendencies.
MDC-T sources yesterday said lobbying for constitutional changes had gained momentum as the party readies itself for an October congress.
According to insiders, provincial council meetings were being held in Chitungwiza and Harare since Thursday to discuss the amendments.
MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the discussions, but said there was no lobbying for the changes.
“Those suggestions are merely the wishes of certain persons in the party, but they still need to be tabled, debated and or modified before adoption at a congress,” he said.
However, a Chitungwiza provincial executive member said Tsvangirai loyalists were mainly interested in strengthening his hand in the party.
“We were briefed of the proposed constitution changes at the forthcoming congress slated for October,” the official said.
“The main changes would be the creation of a second vice-president and having the president appoint a weakened secretary-general following recent developments in the party where Tsvangirai now twice, had to fight against his secretary-generals.”
Sources said at the Thursday meeting, organising secretary Nelson Chamisa was booed by Chitungwiza delegates for failing to reign in out-of-favour provincial chairman Alexio Musundire.
The MDC-T congress in October is likely to be tense amid reports that some party members are still pushing for Tsvangirai to step down ahead of the 2018 polls.
But Tsvangirai remains favourite for the presidency although former Energy minister Elias Mudzuri has thrown his hat into the ring for the same post.