MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday consolidated his grip on the opposition party when he assumed control of the party’s finances during national executive committee (NEC) meeting.
The move is seen as curtailing treasurer-general Roy Bennett and his deputy Elton Mangoma’s influence following their leading role in internal calls for leadership renewal in the MDC-T.
Bennett and Mangoma, the two “purse men” in the MDC-T have both urged Tsvangirai to step down arguing he had failed to provide quality leadership to remove Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe from power.
In the new set-up, the former premier will be the chief signatory to the party’s accounts which had been the preserve of the treasurer-general in accordance with the party’s constitution.
According to the MDC-T constitution, Article 11 sub section 11,2 the treasurer-general is the custodian of party funds.
A close source told our sister paper NewsDay that the NEC resolved to create a financial committee headed by the party’s deputy president Thokozani Khupe and directly answerable to Tsvangirai.
In the heated meeting, some executive members were baying for Mangoma’s blood and his expulsion from the party.
However, some said the party could not afford to discipline Mangoma for expressing his views.
Another source said three committee members pleaded with the meeting not to be too hard on Mangoma.
“Mangoma was blocked from granting any media interviews by the party and his matter was referred to a disciplinary hearing for putting the name of the party into disrepute,” the source said.
“The hearing is not for his opinion which the executive agreed was his democratic right, the problem was the platform he used.”
Another official said the way the agenda was set was meant to shut debate on the Tsvangirai-Mangoma fallout.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka refused to comment on the matter saying his boss was concentrating on national issues affecting the country.
“All the robust debate speaks to the democracy that exists in the MDC-T.
“The party does not speak democracy, it lives democracy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai is today expected to meet diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe and brief them of the state on the nation.