Makoni postpones launch of political party

HARARE - Zimbabwe's former finance minister Simba Makoni has put on hold plans to launch a political party, amid reports that a movement formed to back his failed presidential bid last March was on the verge of collapsing.

Makoni staged a dramatic rebellion against President Robert Mugabe to challenge the veteran leader in the March 29 presidential election, running under the banner of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn movement which he claimed at the time had the backing of several more senior officials of the ruling ZANU PF party disgruntled by Mugabe’s rule.

Both Makoni and Mugabe lost the March poll to main opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who however failed to garner the mandatory votes to land the presidency, resulting in the June 27 second round run-off election won by Mugabe after the opposition boycotted the poll because of political violence.

Sources in Makoni’s movement said plans to turn it into a full fledged political party this month were frozen after the three southern Matabeleland provinces that had appeared more receptive to the movement threatened to pull out citing gross mismanagement of the organisation.

Makoni had planned to launch his political party that is to be known as the National Alliance for Democracy (NAD) on September 13 but had to shelve his plans after the provinces of Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South wrote to him threatening to quit over the way the Mavambo movement was being run.

There is chaos in the Mavambo movement at the moment and Makoni has decided to put on ice plans to launch NAD, a member of the movement’s management committee said. The three Matabeleland provinces have written to Makoni saying they were contemplating leaving the project.

The letter by the three provinces came barely a fortnight after former home affairs minister and Makoni’s main backer in his presidential bid, Dumiso Dabengwa, abandoned the movement.

In a letter to Makoni, a copy of which was shown to ZimOnline, the three provinces’ steering committee said it was dismayed by the manner in which its contributions to the formation of the party had been handled by the movement’s head office in Harare.

“We would like to remind you that we are equal human beings and that we were ill-treated for a long time under similar circumstances, and cannot live to repeat this,” the letter read.

“We have seen the superiority complex displayed by individuals at the head office’ which is run like a family outfit and are very unhappy to be part of this, and particularly detest the arrogance, lack of foresight and leadership that has so far been displayed.”

The three provinces complained about unequal allocation of resources to movement members and told Makoni they would be cutting ties with him if he did not call a consultative meeting to address the various issues raised in the letter.

Godfrey Chanetsa, the Mavambo spokesperson, conceded that there were problems in the movement but took issue with disgruntled members for resorting to the media instead of raising their grievances through internal movement structures.

“I am wondering why some people want us to address issues of Mavambo in the media. Those that feel they have grievances know what the party structures are and they should be free to approach the head office and these matters shall be thrashed out at that forum. There is absolutely no need to try and resolve our matters in the media,” Chanetsa said.

He confirmed that plans to launch NAD have been put on hold. – ZimOnline

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