MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo has said party members who are not happy with leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership are free to leave the labour-backed movement.
Calls for Tsvangirai to step down from the helm of the MDC-T party have grown in the recent past weeks and the party held a national executive committee meeting where officials were gagged from discussing leadership renewal in public.
This was after MDC-T’s deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma recently wrote to Tsvangirai urging him to step down and ensure smooth leadership renewal in the party.
But Moyo last week said the party would not be cowed down by people who wanted to advance personal interests at the expense of those pursuing national interests.
He described the anti-Tsvangirai calls as reckless and misguided.
“We are a party founded on democratic principles,” Moyo said. “The majority of the membership of the party has stated publicly, through the congress we held in Bulawayo in December 2011 that it has faith in the leadership of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai included.
“They did this through voting. There is no way we can ignore what those 4 000-plus people and those they represented at congress want because there are individuals who have their own peculiar interests they want to advance.”
Moyo added: “We always believe in the adage which says when the kitchen is too hot, get out.
“Those that do believe Morgan cannot lead them are free to leave the MDC-T.
“Those statements concerning the party president’s stay in the office are misguided and reckless.”
Moyo, who was Speaker of Parliament during the inclusive government, said his party would only discuss issues such as leadership renewal if they came through the necessary party structures.
“We are a party with laid down communication channels,” he said.
“If it is the feeling of the national council, and I emphasise, the national council, which is the supreme body of the party, and not individuals, that president Tsvangirai should step down. The national council members are allowed to raise that issue at national council level.”
Moyo also said the MDC-T had not received calls for Tsvangirai to step down from any cell, district or provincial structure of the party.
He claimed that the plot against Tsvangirai was funded, allegedly by Zanu PF and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
“We are aware that there cannot just be these calls from nowhere,” he said.
“In other words, we are saying this call is not coming from members of the party who are genuine. It is coming from members of the party who are working with Zanu PF agents and the CIO so as to destabilise and weaken the party.
“They should know that we are watching keenly all their moves.
“And we want to state that we shall soon expose the real hands behind all this effort to create problems in the party,” Moyo added.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo were fruitless.
Zanu PF beat MDC-T in last year’s harmonised elections.
But Mangoma is not the first senior MDC-T official to call for Tsvangirai’s resignation. MDC-T national treasurer Roy Bennett, former Marondera Central MP Ian Kay and former MP for Bulawayo South Eddie Cross have all called for Tsvangirai’s resignation.
The MDC-T national executive committee on Friday gaged its members from discussing leadership renewal after a heated meeting.
Mangoma last week said he was trying to save the party by proposing that Tsvangirai should step down.