Congress: MDC-T tackles cash headache

via Congress: MDC-T tackles cash headache – The Zimbabwe Independent June 27, 2014 by Wongai Zhangazha

THE MDC-T is grappling with funding headaches ahead of its elective congress in October as its coffers have run dry and donors continue to withhold financial assistance for the opposition party.

According to a senior party source, the congress whose date has been tentatively set for October 10 at a venue, requires around US$500 000.

The source said the MDC-T, which has been deserted by traditional Western donors, has only one loyal donor — Botswana.

“There is still Botswana that is sympathetic to the MDC-T but it is also demanding a shift from the usual handouts and requesting that the party submits a viable business proposal.

“The party has the option of raising money through subscriptions from party members but those would not amount to much,” said the source that preferred anonymity.

“A proper congress will cost no less than US$500 000 unless if the party settles for a low-key event where they just fill up the posts of members who have left to join the Renewal Team. With a proper congress we are talking of between 6 000 and 7 000 people.”

The MDC-T said the party was going to embark on a “massive” restructuring exercise following the split of some members from the MDC-T over party president Morgan Tsvangira’s refusal to step down in the interests of leadership renewal.

The Renewal team is led by “former” MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora refuted allegations that they were receiving funding from Botswana.

“That is totally false,” he said.

“Yes we have funding. We are able to fund our own congress. We get our funding from the political parties fund as well as subscriptions from party members. We have 1,5 million members and the membership fee is US$1,” he said.

Mwonzora said a national standing committee held on Wednesday saw the launch of the congress programme.

“We discussed the template to be used at the congress. The template has information on how the congress will be conducted, the delegates who will attend the congress and rules and disqualifications of candidates. The most important thing that came out from the meeting is that we have agreed that all the posts will be contested,” said Mwonzora.

He said they expected about 10 000 people at the congress.