MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti has written to the party’s provincial structures attacking the ongoing purge of leaders perceived to be against leader Morgan Tsvangirai and general indiscipline.
In a letter dated March 5 2014 addressed to all provincial executives, provincial youth assemblies, women’s assemblies and district executives referenced “disturbances in the party” which Southern Eye exclusively obtained, Biti said the levels of intolerance and factionalism manifested in the last few weeks were against the party’s “values and culture of solidarity, justice, equality, liberty, freedom and transparency”, among others.
“The MDC’s belief in the rule of law entails strict adherence to our constitution and laws of the land,” Biti wrote.
“The use of violence as an instrument and means of arbitrating differences is archaic and primitive,” he said in apparent reference to the violence that broke out at the party’s Harvest House headquarters where deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma was assaulted by party youths allegedly aligned to Tsvangirai.
The assault followed a meeting where Tsvangirai had summoned district chairpersons to discuss Mangoma’s calls for leadership renewal in the party.
Biti himself survived the violence after he jumped into Tsvangirai’s vehicle, but his house was petrol-bombed a few days later.
“Over the years, this party has always taken a firm position of non-tolerance to the same,” the former Finance minister wrote.
“It is one of the key foundational reasons why the MDC was formed.
“Surely dialogue, debate and tolerance have been the hallmark of our party of excellence and not diatribe, malice, violence or politics of exclusion.”
Biti also expressed grave concern at the multiplicity of people speaking for or on behalf of the MDC-T saying the party’s secretary for information and publicity Douglas Mwonzora was the mandated national spokesperson.
“Besides him, only two other persons are allowed to speak for and on behalf of the party — that is the president (Tsvangirai) and secretary-general (Biti),” he said.
“Equally, the national executive committee (NEC) and national council have a clearly defined position on the use of social media.
“No member of the party is entitled to comment on internal matters of the party in the social media. This is clearly and fragrantly being breached.”
NEC member Chalton Hwende and former Justice deputy minister Obert Gutu have of late been taking to social networks to discuss the problems engulfing MDC-T.
Hwende has used his Facebook wall to either update readers or attack Mangoma’s actions while at the same time expressing his allegiance to Tsvangirai.
The MDC-T announced last Friday that it had suspended Mangoma as deputy treasurer-general for bringing the name of the party into disrepute with his calls for Tsvangirai to step down.
But Biti pronounced that due process was not followed and Mangoma was not afforded his rights in accordance with the party’s constitution. In the letter, he charged that the purge on national executives was illegal.
“No one in our party has the right to willy nilly suspend or expel an individual or dissolve or suspend any organ of the party,” he said.
“Where this has taken place, it is clearly null and void, of no effect and should be ignored.”
Biti said the reported dissolution of the party’s Matabeleland North provincial executive announced last week was null and void.
“Only the national council in terms of Article 6,4,2,1 can suspend or dissolve any organ of the party.
“No other individual has such a right, thus if there was any such dissolution, it is void from the beginning,” he said.
This follows reports that the NEC last Friday endorsed the new Matabeleland North provincial interim chairperson Thembinkosi Sibindi and his executive and blocked the deposed chairperson Sengezo Tshabangu from attending. But Sibindi yesterday said any claims by Tshabangu to be Matabeleland North chairperson should not be entertained.
“We had a meeting in Harare on Friday where the NEC endorsed my interim executive as the official structure of the party in Matabeleland North,” he said.
“Tshabangu tried to enter, but was denied entry. The correct position is that the province is now led by me.
“If Tshabangu claims to be a leader here, he is misleading the people.”
However, Tshabangu dismissed Sibindi’s claims saying the only issue dealt with by the NEC was that of Mangoma.
“We have it on record that the issue that happened in Matabeleland North is null and void,” he said.
“As I speak I am holding a circular written by Biti which was sent to all provinces to the fact that what happened in our province was illegal and must not be followed by other provinces.”
Tshabangu said the circular buttressed their position that the executive clandestinely imposed by deputy national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe was illegal, null and void.
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