via MDC ‘roasts Mangoma’ – DailyNews Live 2 FEBRUARY 2014
The MDC National Executive on Friday formally censured Elton Mangoma for secretly dropping his damning statement to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to the media in a resolution that essentially branded him “MDC in name only.”
The top MDC organ voted overwhelmingly at its crucial first meeting of the year to censure Mangoma, who was described as having a “long and terrible record of drafting, co-sponsoring and pushing for changes best associated with Zanu PF.”
The MDC’s governing body resolved not to suspend but censure the former Energy minister for leaking confidential information to the press.
The alleged leak was a letter that Mangoma wrote to Tsvangirai that disclosed controversial proposals for leadership renewal.
This letter, widely circulated in local newspapers, outlined claims that Tsvangirai must step aside to give the MDC fresh impetus ostensibly because confidence was plummeting, and there was need for the party to freshen up.
At the time of the leak, the grievance was still under internal discussion.
The document was presented at a meeting at the Mandel Training Centre attended by Tsvangirai, vice president Thokozani Khupe and secretary-general, Tendai Biti.
There was a feeling that Mangoma had breached the confidence of the governing body’s executive session.
“The issue at hand was confidential,” a member of the national executive told the Daily News on Sunday.
Mangoma was said to have rebuffed the accusations at the meeting by stating that as the primary accused subject in the grievance, he did not make the letter public, and suggesting that it was in fact Tsvangirai who leaked the letter to the Press.
Mangoma is said to have protested that the executive was trying to silence him and said he took the censure as a badge of honour because he was sticking to the truth.
According to officials, Mangoma had violated standing rules, which states that only when all national executive parties consent, will such an issue be discussed in public.
Officials also mentioned that ultimately, it is the decision of the governing body whether or not the information discussed in closed session remains privileged.
After receiving guidance from Tsvangirai on how to proceed, the governing body agreed to draw up the resolution to censure Mangoma, and Khupe was reportedly appointed to chair an internal disciplinary hearing that will look into the matter.
While members of the national executive reiterated that as leaders of the MDC, they were obligated to fully support the party and its candidates, it was felt that only in times of great crisis or betrayal is it necessary to publicly censure out leaders. The party was faced with both.
It was also noted that the leak has been disastrous and harmful to both Tsvangirai and the MDC.
There was a sense that Mangoma has abandoned the MDC’s core values and has been eerily silent against Zanu PF, yet publicly reprimands Tsvangirai, a position that is at tangent with the general mood in the party.
Officials said during the meeting, Biti remained silent.
In his damning letter to Tsvangirai, suggesting that he quits the MDC leadership, he argued the former trade unionist had dismally failed to push through reforms while in a four-year power-sharing government with President Robert Mugabe.
“It is my unbending resolve that leadership renewal…could be the only avenue to restoring the credibility of the party lest it risks being confined to history,” Mangoma said.
He also accused his compatriots of amassing huge disproportionate wealth during the subsistence of the unity government formed after a disputed election in 2008.
The meeting resolved not to entertain calls for an early congress ostensibly because there was “no leadership crisis” now, but the issue will be tabled before an MDC national council during its next sitting, party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said.
The party will go for an elective congress in 2016, as planned.
There are sharp divisions in the MDC over whether to field Tsvangirai — who has lost three national elections against Mugabe — in the next vote in 2018.
While the party accuses Mugabe’s Zanu PF’s of vote fraud and political violence to retain political power, some MDC officials say Tsvangirai’s sex peccadilloes have damaged him badly.
While he has reunited with his wife Elizabeth, it remains an open question whether the uproar will now subside sufficiently to allow him to swing attention back to affairs of the MDC, notably his new alternative policy proposals of supply-side reforms to boost the sluggish economic recovery.
Healing the rift with his wife was a “necessary decision” to clarify a situation that had become the subject of “voyeurism for too many people.”
Meanwhile, Mangoma faces a formidable array of challenges, underscored by a demonstration against him outside Harvest House on Friday and calls for him to step aside.
There are attempts to sideline him, amid reports a fundraising committee has been appointed by then national executive, to be headed by Khupe.
There was a feeling that Mangoma can no longer be trusted to fund raise for the party.
In an earlier interview with our sister paper, the Daily News, Mangoma denied that he had sabotaged the party by withholding campaign funds.