MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe and national chairman, Lovemore Moyo yesterday snubbed a crucial meeting to discuss widening ruptures over the succession of ailing party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
This comes as MDC-T provincial chairpersons demanded a review of seats distributed to MDC Alliance partners. The chairpersons said negotiators gave away too many seats in the party’s strongholds as infighting continues dogging the main opposition party ahead of this year’s elections.
Tsvangirai is out of the country for medical attention and appointed one of his deputies, Elias Mudzuri, as acting president.
In an interview yesterday, MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora downplayed Khupe and Moyo’s absence at the crucial national standing committee meeting.
“What I know is that she (Khupe) had meetings with a diplomat and was unable to attend. It was not a boycott the way, I understood it,” he said adding Moyo gave an official apology.
The MDC-T is currently facing internal fights with officials angling to succeed Tsvangirai, who has since indicated his intention to step down.
Some provincial leaders expressed concern that although they were agreeable to the coalition, the manner in which seat distribution was conducted had weakened the party.
Mwonzora confirmed the concern was brought forward to the standing committee.
“We discussed the proposed seat distribution as well as the concerns raised by our chairpersons and provincial leaders. What will happen, therefore, is that these concerns are going to be taken back to the alliance partners through our negotiators for further discussion,” he said.
“We were of the opinion that some of the concerns raised by our chairpersons were credible and we will bring those concerns to our partners in the alliance.”
Mwonzora expressed optimism about reaching a consensus with MDC Alliance partners soon.
MDC-T chairpersons met on Tuesday ahead of the party’s standing committee meeting and demanded that there be a review of the seat distribution.
Manicaland provincial chairperson, David Chimhini said although there was no going back on the alliance, it was the seats allocation system, which members felt could have been done better.
“In Manicaland, our concern was on Mutasa South and Chimanimani West. They are our constituencies, we won them before,” he said.
“Other constituencies, after we were asked to surrender some to the alliance, we just accepted as a principle that is being applied throughout the country.
“It was really a very fruitful meeting in the sense that the leadership was very accommodative and the chairpersons and the provincial leadership were also very frank with one another.
“It all reflected the seriousness of people to build a strong alliance and build a strong MDC-T party because after the elections definitely people will remain in their respective political parties and this is why people are saying let’s try to make us grow as a party while we are working within the alliance.”
In Harare, provincial chairman, Erick Murayi said their concern regarding the distribution of seats hinged on giving away both constituencies and wards.
“We have no problem having some of the seats going to the alliance. What we are against is the idea of ceding both the constituency and the wards because there is life after the elections, the party must remain visible so we want that to be corrected,” he said.
James Gumbi, the provincial chairperson in Masvingo, however, accepted the distribution, saying in negotiating, they could not demand everything.
Bulawayo provincial chairperson, Gift Banda acknowledged that there could be some challenges, but expressed hope that they would find common ground.
“It is my view that everything is not cast in stone. This is an on-going process and I think people are going to be amenable to alterations here and there,” he said.
Party spokesperson, Obert Gutu has already thrown his hat in the ring for the Harare East constituency, which was given to PDP, a development that is likely to create a rift within the alliance.