MDC-T Guardians want to give dialogue a chance

MDC-T rebels who staged a coup against the party leadership over the weekend behaved in an unfortunate manner, but dialogue should be given a chance to resolve the differences.

Martin Magaya: What Biti and others did was unfortunate but dialogue should be given a chance.
Martin Magaya: What Biti and others did was unfortunate but dialogue should be given a chance.

This is the view of the party’s Guardian Council member Martin Magaya. Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean at MDC-T Harvest House, he said it was not too late to extend an olive branch to the rebellious lot.

“Only after all reconciliatory avenues have been exhausted, should other action be taken,” said Magaya, pointing out the need for constitutionalism in the party. He said the Guardian Council should be given the opportunity to help settle matters.

Some party members operating under the Renewal Group banner met at a secret place in Harare last Saturday and suspended Party President, Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe and other top officials sympathetic to him for alleged lack of constitutionalism, violent behaviour and dictatorial conduct.

The meeting convened by Tendai Biti was declared by MDC-T through its spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, as null and void.

“The meeting only served to confirm that Biti, Elton Mangoma and others have formed a political party and would suffer the consequences,” Mwonzora said.

He said MDC-T members from Biti’s Harare East constituency had indicated that they would petition party leadership to expel Biti from the party and recall him from Parliament, as he no longer represented their interests.

He warned Parliament against protecting individuals recalled by their parties as a result of expulsion, saying the constitution was clear in this regard. According to Mwonzora, Biti also faces investigations for misappropriating party resources which he allegedly channelled to his private company.

A Harare resident, Jescah Tauzeni, said democracy was in tatters in MDC-T. “If ever democracy existed in the party, Tsvangirai would have been suspended long back and hauled before the disciplinary committee, since he showed disrespect for the MDC-T constitution,” he said.

The ongoing suspensions against suspected Tsvangirai rivals were undemocratic and unconstitutional, but the party was leaving the perpetrator scot free.

Spokesperson for the Renewal Group, Jacob Mafume, said the suspension of Tsvangirai and others was done constitutionally and those suspended should not fool themselves into doing party business as usual, as the suspensions were binding at law.

“The meeting that resolved to suspend Tsvangirai and others was well constituted as it had two thirds of eligible officials and done through secret ballot,” Mafume said, adding that the attendance register would indicate that bona fide district, provincial and other top party officials had participated in the suspensions decision.

He advised Tsvangirai not to waste time carrying out ‘illegal’ party business instead of seeking legal advice from competent lawyers. Mafume said if Tsvangirai had priorities in the right place, would have held an emergency National Council meeting immediately to find the way forward regarding the suspensions.

Analyst Alexander Rusero said he doubted if what Biti and company had done was both politically and legally sustainable. “Biti and others are simply trying to set a stage from where to launch a splinter political project,” he said. He noted that the suspensions against Tsvangirai, Khupe and others were done unintelligently, as there were no chance that the MDC-T leadership could be relieved of its roles in that way.

Meanwhile, the Bulawayo provincial executive called an urgent provincial meeting and affirmed allegiance to Tsvangirai, and described his weekend ouster from the helm of party’s leadership by the MDC team renewal faction as null and void.

Dorcas Sibanda, the acting chairperson, insisted that suspension was unconstitutional claiming that, Biti had no powers under the constitution to call a national council meeting. She said Bulawayo province had not been represented at the meeting.

“As Bulawayo province, we would like to make it clear that we are fully behind the leadership of Tsvangirai. What happened in Harare has made us to be even stronger and united. We are going to perfect our structures,” she said.

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