via MDC-T restructures January 19, 2014 by Patrice Makova Zimbabwe Standard
THE MDC-T has once again ruled out the possibility of holding an extra-ordinary congress this year and will instead embark on a massive restructuring exercise as part of efforts to turn around the party’s waning political fortunes.
The party has been under pressure from some of its officials, funders and supporters who are pushing for a special congress to elect new leadership following its disastrous performance in last year’s July 31 election, won resoundingly by Zanu PF.
But MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said the party’s national standing committee met last week and effectively ruled out the idea of an early congress. They resolved the congress will be held when it is due in 2016.
Mwonzora said the party agreed to unite under the leadership of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai until the next congress.
He said rather than going for early elections, the MDC-T national standing committee opted for a “massive” restructuring of district, provincial and national structures among other measures aimed at rejuvenating the party.
The MDC-T spokesperson did not clearly spell out how the restructuring would be held. Some party officials said they feared the exercise would be used to eliminate dissenting voices.
“Branches and provinces considered rebellious are likely to be dissolved and replaced with puppet ones,” said an MDC-T national council member.
But Mwonzora said: “No one is going to be dissolved. We will use the exercise to fill vacant posts so that there are no gaps in our structures.”
He said the MDC-T will be undertaking a lot of activities to make the party stronger and start preparing for the 2018 elections.
“This year we are going to re-strategise, regroup and reposition ourselves as a government in-waiting,” said the MDC-T spokesperson.
He said the national standing committee agreed that factions have no place in the “new” MDC-T, while at the same time not discouraging people from challenging Tsvangirai and other leaders.
“Our position is that there is nothing wrong with those who want to contest our president [Tsvangirai], secretary-general, [Tendai Biti] and others,” said
Mwonzora. “This should however be done in accordance with our constitution which stipulates that positions are contested at the right time during congresses. The next contest is therefore in 2016.”
He said the issue of the mayor of Mutare, Tatenda Nhemarare who was fired from the party together with nine councillors from the eastern border city, Victoria Falls and Redcliff for defying a party directive, did not come up for discussion.
He said as the councillors appealed, their cases were now being handled by a tribunal headed by former minister of constitutional affairs, advocate Eric Matinenga. Nhemarare and the councillors were fired while the mayor of Gweru Hamutendi Kombayi was recalled for “indiscipline” and voting against candidates imposed by the party leadership.
Mwonzora said this year, the MDC-T would be more visible vowing that the party’s shadow cabinet ministers would keep the Zanu PF government on its toes.
He said the shadow ministers will continue proffering the party’s alternative policies.
“We will offer our parallel policies and soon we are going to start organising more rallies,” he said.
Cracks within the MDC-T have been widening since the July elections which Zanu PF won by an over two thirds majority, with President Robert Mugabe garnering 61% votes compared to Tsvangirai’s 33%.
While the MDC-T contested the electoral outcome, alleging massive vote rigging and intimidation, analysts said it was clear that Zanu PF successfully regrouped, as MDC-T snoozed.