New Zimbabwe (London)

26 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Resign, Mangoma Tells Tsvangirai

Photo: MDC-T
MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai addressing a rally (file photo).

THE war of attrition in the MDC-T has escalated a notch with deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma openly telling party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to resign and make way for a new leadership.

Mongama told NewZimbabwe.com Sunday that he presented his proposals to Tsvangirai last week at a meeting attended by the former premier, his deputy Thokozani Khupe and secretary general Tendai Biti.

Tsvangirai has said he will see out his current five-year term which ends in 2016 and seek another mandate then.

But under Mangoma's proposals, he should resign immediately and hand over power to Khupe pending an extraordinary congress that would choose a new leadership for the party.

"I normally give verbal advice to the party president but this time the issues were serious enough to be put in writing so that he could also take time to reflect on them. My understanding is that our discussions were extremely amicable and that the president will take time to reflect on my proposals," Mangoma said in interview Sunday.

NewZimbabwe.com understands that after the meeting between the four leaders, Mangoma's document was discussed by the party's standing committee and will now be put to national council which, according to Mangoma, can call an extraordinary congress by a majority vote.

Another party official close to the developments claimed that Tsvangirai had lost the top leadership with only Nelson Chamisa, Lovemore Moyo and Morgen Komichi still openly backing him.

"Only four people in the 11-member standing committee rejected Mangoma's proposals during last week's meeting. Tsvangirai lost the vote in the committee. The battle will now go to the national council," said the official.

Mangoma dismissed as a fabrication weekend reports claiming the standing committee refused to call an extra-ordinary congress.

"That is not correct. Those stories were completely fabricated; the Standing Committee never refused to call an extraordinary congress," he said.

"Equally, suggestions that we are urging Tsvangirai to resign because we are afraid congress will not support our call for leadership renewal are incorrect.

"We are ready for congress. But we are merely saying we do not want a person who has done so much for the party and the country to be subjected to the embarrassment of defeat in a leadership contest.

"No one should be a leader for ever. We do not want to find ourselves with the same problems Zanu PF is facing over succession. There are many people in the MDC who are capable and an extraordinary congress will be decisive in that respect."

However, a top Tsvangirai loyalist told us that there "are no extraordinary circumstances warranting an extraordinary congress except the extraordinary ambitions of those calling for one".

"Unfortunately Mangoma is not reading the party's constitution properly. Clearly his mind is clouded by his hunger for power," said the official, asking not to be named.

"It's not the national council which calls an extraordinary congress; it is actually the party's district and provincial structures and, at the moment, there are no issues coming from there. The only extraordinary issues are those Mangoma is creating in his mind."

Tsvangirai has since stated that he welcomes discussion of leadership renewal within the party but insists he cannot be asked to step down because of the party's defeat in the July 31 elections which he claims were fraudulent.

But Mangoma said this was "not the first election which has been stolen".

"We are not urging leadership change necessarily because of the last elections," he said.

"Again this is not the only election which has been stolen. The problem is that the leader is looking backwards while we are looking ahead. We are saying is, what can we do to make sure that net next election is not stolen?

"We cannot wait for 2016 because the next election may not be in 2018; we could have new fresh elections before that and we party must be in a position to make sure that that vote is not stolen as well."

His document proposes amending the party's constitution to accommodate Tsvangirai so that he is not idle in retirement.

"I envisage amending the constitution to create the position of founding president," he wrote.

"It (position) will give the effect that you will continue to be closely associated with the party and the people's project, preserve your legacy as a democrat and a brave fighter against dictatorship and one-man-rule.

"This also enables establishing an institute for governance and social development, which the party will assist in fundraising for the establishment of the same."

Asked if he was interested in taking over from Tsvangirai, Mangoma said he would serve in what ever role he was assigned by the party's members.

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