via MDC-T top brass’ nasty fights exposed – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 22, 2015
FACTIONAL fights that characterised Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC-T ahead of last October’s elective congress have resurfaced with senior party members exchanging harsh words on social media platforms.
by Everson Mushava/Moses Matenga
A conversation on a WhatsApp group composed of MDC-T standing committee members leaked to NewsDay shows the party has been embroiled in serious power struggles.
The nasty exchanges were triggered by the appointment of Costa Machingauta as acting national organiser in Gweru last week reportedly by party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora without the consent of other standing committee members.
He was appointed because national organiser Abednico Bhebhe is on study leave, while his deputy, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, was said to be on sick leave.
The chats started with deputy treasurer-general Charlton Hwende asking why Machingauta’s appointment was done clandestinely.
Hwende queried the constitutionality of appointing Machingauta, who was not in the party’s standing committee.
Other members like Sesel Zvidzai joined in the debate, saying Machingauta’s appointment posed a constitutional crisis in the party.
MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe explained that Bhebhe and Mahlangu were on leave.
But all hell broke loose when Mwonzora mocked Hwende’s low votes at last year’s congress saying: “The people who had the least votes always say too much.”
Mwonzora escalated the fight when he said Hwende, as a deputy, was not supposed to be in the standing committee.
Hwende immediately hit back saying: “For a secretary-general to say that deputies are sitting in the SC (standing committee) illegally that’s very low even for your standards. You are an embarrassment, Even if I got one vote . . . and this coming from a lawyer? I am ashamed.”
Another party member interjected: “What has more votes yielded for the people of Zimbabwe who are suffering? You have failed to protect the workers of our party and call yourself numbers.”
Hwende accused Mwonzora of pocketing $4 000 while party workers had gone for months without pay.
They also accused Mwonzora of claiming to be powerful when Tsvangirai was the only centre of power.
They said his duty was to implement Tsvangirai’s orders like what he did with the recall of MDC Renewal Team MPs.
Mwonzora fired back saying: “But I certainly don’t bad mouth my own superior. Others do. I win my way into leadership. Other people sponsor rag-tag youths to pass a vote of no confidence in their own superiors.”
He added: “Those who say $4 000 was taken, please post the proof thereof for this group to see. Those who go to the Press to bad mouth their leaders and pretend not to see, please stand!”
The party’s youth leader Happymore Chidziva said the party was in trouble if national leaders were involved in mudslinging and failing to restore order in the party and take power from Zanu PF.
“At our level, we must be busy not even here on WhatsApp. We have a lot of work to do, we need to be serious,” Chidziva said.
Mwonzora yesterday refused to comment over the cyber fights.
“I have nothing personal with anyone. The discussion was not for public consumption and I don’t know who leaked them,” he said.
Hwende said: “I am not allowed to speak to the Press on party business without the permission of the secretary-general. You can contact the party’s official spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu.”
Gutu said the communication was internal and not for public consumption.
He said Tsvangirai used his powers to appoint Machingauta, who was a senior member of the party.
“Thus, there is absolutely nothing amiss and/or untoward about Hon Machingauta’s recent appointment as acting national organising secretary until Bhebhe returns from study leave,” Gutu said.
But insiders said the chats had exposed serious internal fights, which could boomerang if left unchecked.
They alleged that Mwonzora was afraid of losing control to a faction linked to former organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, whom he defeated for the secretary-general’s post last year.
Khupe, Mwonzora and Gutu, the sources said, were fighting in the same corner, while Hwende, Chamisa, Theresa Makone, the party’s treasurer general, were fighting in the other corner.
Machingauta lost to Mahlangu and is believed to be in Mwonzora’s camp.
“In terms of seniority among deputies, Paurina Mpariwa, who is Mwonzora’s deputy is supposed to act. It is a battle to control the structures when Bhebhe is away,” the source added.