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MDC-T leader ‘suspended’

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MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his top lieutenants including the party’s deputy president Thokozani Khupe, were yesterday “suspended” as the movement inched closer to another split.

EVERSON MUSHAVA
CHIEF REPORTER

The MDC-Team faction convened a meeting of the national council in Harare, which also reversed the suspension of deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma and three others.

National chairman Lovemore Moyo and his deputy Morgan Komichi, organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and his deputy Abednico Bhebhe as well as party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora were also suspended.

Lobengula MP Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said they decided to suspend the seven top leaders because they had proved to be undemocratic.

“The national executive has decided to suspend the seven pending a tribunal. The suspensions will be formalised.

“Their charge sheets are being prepared ad they will appear before a tribunal to answer charges,” he said, amid cheers from the crowd of about 300 people who attended the meeting.

“We have decided to reverse the so-called suspension of Mangoma, (Last) Maengahama, (Jacob) Mafume and (Promise) Mkhwananzi.

“They are back in the party now. All these suspensions meant to put their cronies ahead of congress have been reversed.”

MDC-T suspended Mangoma and expelled Maengahama, Mafume and Mkhwananzi for calling for Tsvangirai’s ouster. This followed the assault on Mangoma at the party’s headquarters in Harare in February.

Mangoma wrote to Tsvangirai asking him to step down claiming the former premier was no longer an asset to the party.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka referred questions to Mwonzora who described yesterday’s suspensions as a clumsy attempt by “spineless” people who feared to contest for positions at congress.

“This is not an MDC national council. This meeting is a culmination of an elaborate progamme of covert operations by State security agents, Zanu PF, (President Robert) Mugabe and a few malcontents from the MDC led by Welshman Ncube to destabilise the party,” he said.

“Their resolutions are meaningless and impotent. Tsvangirai and his leadership will remain in office.”

He said the party’s critical organs would meet in the following two days to strategise and resolve the infighting once and for all.

Nkomo claimed that about 138 national council members out of the 178 attended yesterday’s meeting and voted for the suspensions.

He said to avoid a leadership vacuum after the ouster of the top leadership, the party’s guardian council will take charge until the next elections.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti, who had kept the party guessing about his involvement in the push to oust Tsvangirai’s came out open yesterday declaring that they were practicing their “constitutional right of disassociation”.

He said the party had diverted from the core values that influenced its formation because of people who were keen to stifle others’ democratic right to express their views freely.

“The party had been hijacked by a dangerous fascist clique bent on destroying the same and totally working against the working people of Zimbabwe,” Biti said.

He said his team was made up of true democrats who denounce the use of violence, a patronage system, intimidation, privatisation of the party and wanton disregard of the party’s constitution.

He also criticised, dishonesty, absence of personal accountability, and factionalism and a use of informal channels such as kitchen cabinet, among an array of problems bedevilling MDC-T.

The group also accused Tsvangirai’s team of disregarding women and children.

Biti said the inclusive government openly exposed Tsvangirai, accusing his boss of being outsmarted by Mugabe during the period.

He claimed that Tsvangirai abused party money running into millions of dollars and allowed the holding of the July 31 elections without reforms.

Former Energy minister Elton Mangoma, Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure, former Bikita West MP Heya Shoko, Tongai Matutu, Evelyn Masaiti, Ian Kay and his wife Kerry, Paul and Solomon Madzore, Charles Mangongera, Edwin Mushonga and Costa Muguti were some of the top leaders who attended yesterday’s meeting.

Biti said he would write to the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to seek the protection of sitting MPs and councillors from being recalled.

He said he was aware Tsvangirai’s team would not go down without fighting, “using violence, as they are used to”.

“We are committed to push the struggle forward,” Biti said.

“The struggle had become sterile and there is need for renewal and return to democracy.”

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