MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was on Sunday booed by his supporters in Manicaland after he personally presided over an alleged “sham” provincial election to ensure his favoured candidates won, as the executive led by Shuah Mudiwa, walked out in protest.
Tsvangirai caused another storm when he skipped Kuwadzana East MP and party organising secretary Nelson Chamisa’s name while introducing candidates vying for the secretary-general’s position and only mentioned party spokesperson and former Nyanga North MP Douglas Mwonzora.
Party insiders said the move was to save face for Mwonzora, who until Sunday had not yet garnered a single nomination from the party’s 12 provinces.
Our sister paper NewsDay witnessed Tsvangirai personally vetting district members from Chikanga-Dangamvura constituency, where several party members believed to be sympathetic to Mudiwa were disqualified, amid chaotic scenes, as they protested against the ex-premier’s involvement.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday said his boss only intervened to ensure smooth flow of the process.
“The extent of Mr Tsvangirai’s involvement was to make sure that the process proceeded well,” he said.
“Now that the provincial meetings have come to an end, there will be a national executive meeting on Saturday and everyone with complaints will come forward.
“His involvement was just to calm rising tempers and if there is anyone who feels prejudiced, there will be a national executive meeting to deal with that.”
Mudiwa and his executive committee walked out after it became apparent that most of their backers had been disqualified from the voting process and his rival David Chimhini eventually won the chairperson’s post.
He vowed to disregard the “shambolic election results” and continue in office until free and fair elections were held.
“The whole process was just a Charlie Chaplin comedy designed to cause humour and laughter, anxiety and mercy for those who have the spirit of democracy in their minds and instil strength in those who have the spirit of dictatorship,” he said.
“We don’t recognise what happened on Sunday and we will continue working as the provincial executive for the good of the party. We are not joining any other party as some will want to suggest.”
One of Mudiwa’s executive members who declined to be named said: “We felt that we were not respected as a provincial executive after going around the province restructuring districts, correcting the districts where there were parallel structures due to factionalism.
“We were doing this using our own resources for the good of the party and in one spirit of building this party for a future vibrant, crystal clear democracy.
“On the day in question after going through the accreditation from 9am, we had several districts that were in conflict and after full agreement to the effect that those districts cannot participate, the president (Tsvangirai) intervened and let everyone, even hired non-members, get into Sakubva Beit Hall to vote.
“The president, with the blessings of some standing committee members, chose to ignore the norms and he had earlier on addressed the assembly contrary to national council rules which state that the sitting executive has to go through a two-thirds confirmation.”
But Chimhini yesterday maintained that his election was above board.
Meanwhile, the province gave Mwonzora a first nomination for the position of secretary-general and nominated Chamisa for the position of spokesperson, a nomination he declined through a representative.
In an interview yesterday, Mwonzora said he was confident of beating Chamisa at congress, although the latter has received nominations from 11 provinces.
Chamisa declined to comment over his snubbing by Tsvangirai and the chaos that marred the Manicaland provincial polls.
“I just wish my brother Mwonzora good luck at congress,” was all Chamisa said yesterday.