OPPOSITION MDC-T — which has been rocked by two splits in its 15 years of existence — fears yet another breakaway, citing the “current institutional design” and lack of party cohesion, and has resolved to set up an arbiter-general’s office to speedily deal with the key issues of discipline.
Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai was handed a fresh mandate at the weekend’s elective congress, with extra sweeping powers.
According to the resolutions passed, which bolstered Tsvangirai’s grip, the party acknowledged that the splits were a result of institutional and structural designs.
“The congress noted that the institutional and structural design has contributed to the split of the party in the past and lack of party cohesion, which is essential to realise the objectives of the party,” read the resolutions.
“The party also noted that the current institutional design might lead to destructive factions in the party and another split.”
Early this year, the MDC-T was thrown into turmoil after former secretary-general Tendai Biti led a rebellion against Tsvangirai, leading to the formation of the MDC-Renewal team.
The congress resolved that the party should set up an arbiter-general’s office that cascades to all levels to speedily deal with key issues of discipline, but ensure that people are disciplined not for their views, but for their constitutional conduct. Tsvangirai emerged as the major beneficiary as the party effectively surrendered control to him.
The party gave a nod to amend the constitution to allow the “president to be the custodian of the party name, custodian of all party assets, to supervise all in the leadership, to be the party’s chief fundraiser and to suspend national standing committee members through the national council for breach of the party constitution”.
“In this regard the secretary-general shall no longer be responsible for all party affairs in the national secretariat and shall report to the president,” the resolutions read.
There was a feeling within MDC-T that the secretary-general’s post was too powerful and was creating two centres of power.
Tsvangirai has faced rebellions from two of his former secretaries-general Welshman Ncube and Biti. MDC-T also wants rival MDC-Renewal to “forthwith cease to use the party’s name and symbols as they did with party colours”.
A resolution was passed to expand its social and political base, extend an olive branch to former rebels and to welcome all members from other political parties, who were willing to join the party.