MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo has taken a sabbatical ostensibly to concentrate on his studies at a time the opposition party is experiencing internal turmoil.
The party’s senior officials are bickering over an ongoing purge of those suspected to be in favour of leadership renewal.
The purges were triggered by a letter penned by deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma advising MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to consider stepping down to save the party from collapse.
MDC-T Bulawayo provincial organising secretary and Pumula MP Albert Mhlanga confirmed to Southern Eye yesterday that Moyo had taken a break from party politics to pursue his studies.
“That is true, our chairman will be on leave until June,” said Mhlanga.
“He will be undertaking some studies between now and June.
“He wants to be a professor and is currently busy writing articles on peace and good governance.
“He will also conduct some lectures at universities locally and in Madagascar up to June and as such he saw it necessary to take a break from the party’s activities.
“This is also the reason why he is not reachable because he does not want to be disturbed or distracted.”
MDC-T insiders said Moyo wrote a letter to Tsvangirai on Monday and copied it to deputy president Thokozani Khupe, secretary-
general Tendai Biti, organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and the Bulawayo provincial executive indicating that he was taking leave from all party activities from March 11 to June citing personal reasons.
Deputy provincial chairperson and Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda will act in Moyo’s absence.
However, informed party insiders said Moyo’s move to take a break was a strategic retreat aimed at disassociating himself from the current boil in his party.
The sources said Moyo, a one-time fierce Tsvangirai loyalist who was handpicked by the former prime minister as a non-constituency MP and then subsequently made a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office at the inception of the coalition government in 2009, had become increasingly frustrated with how the party was being run.
They said Moyo was in favour of leadership renewal and his temporary disengagement would make him appear as a neutral in the internal turmoil. Taking a break from party activities means he will not be present at tomorrow’s rally to be addressed by Tsvangirai at Stanley Square in Makokoba.
His attendance would have been viewed as an endorsement of the politics of retribution and violence blamed on Tsvangirai’s loyalists, the sources said.
They said Moyo had come under increasing spotlight from Tsvangirai’s backers over his loyalty.
“The handling of the Mangoma issue and his subsequent suspension was the last straw that forced Moyo to take a break from all party activities,” sources said.
“The Bulawayo provincial executive is sympathetic to Mangoma just like the Matabeleland North and South executives that have been forced out of office over their questionable loyalty to Tsvangirai and Moyo is sooner or later going to face the same fate for not publicly endorsing the leader.”
Other sources alleged that Moyo was sitting on the fence “hoping that when he returns in June, there would be certainty on the direction of the party”.
However, Mhlanga dismissed the allegations as untrue saying Moyo is “100% behind Tsvangirai”.