THE leadership fights within the opposition MDC-T came to a head Saturday after a meeting of the party's national council voted for the suspension of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In a meeting chaired by secretary of the party's Guardian Council, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo and attended by a reported 138 members of the 176 member national council, figures released showed that 136 councillors voted for Tsvangirai's suspension against two who voted against and that of six other top party leaders.
Nkomo announced the suspensions as well as the lifting of the suspensions on four senior members of the MDC-T.
"The first item on our agenda was the re-instatement and in fact rescinding of the so called expulsions of deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma, youth secretary general Promise Mkwananzi, national executive members Last Maengahama and Jacob Mafume," Nkomo said.
"Those purported suspensions are null and void and the national council has voted against them.
"The MDC national council also resolved today to suspend the following persons, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (president), Thokozani Khupe (deputy president), Lovemore Moyo (national chairman), Morgen Komichi (deputy national chairman), Nelson Chamisa (organising secretary), Abednico Bhebhe (deputy organising secretary) and Douglas Mwonzora (information secretary)."
Nkomo said the national council had recommitted the party to its founding values of "democratic struggle, non-violence and servant leadership".
"These founding values had been trodden by those of us who have gone astray and the MDC would now want to cleanse ourselves and remain pure. We have been saddened by the fact that some of us have resorted to violence that we have all along associated with Zanu PF," the Tsholotsho legislator said.
According to the resolutions, the party's guardian council, headed by Sekai Holland, will now take charge and prepare for an elective congress.
Party secretary general Tendai Biti who has, since the break of the MDC-T leadership fall-out remained in the background, save for tacit support for Mangoma after the latter's violent assault, read out the resolution.
Biti said Tsvangirai, who has been at the helm of the party for the last 15 years will be charged with violation of the party's constitution as well as bringing the party into disrepute.
"Dear leader Morgan Tsvangirai has failed as a leader, is now clearly unsuitable, has failed and we now do not recognise him as a member of either the national standing committee or any other organ of the party. We as the democratic group with the MDC have resolved to use our constitutional right and dis-associate ourselves from this group," Biti told journalists at a media briefing amid applause from delegates.
"The party that we helped form has been hijacked by a dangerous fascist clique and we draw a line against the use of violence, abuse of power, massive purges, and the use of parrallel structures, vigilantes and the kitchen cabinet".
Other top party leaders who attended included youth president Solomon Madzore, Mkwananzi, Mangoma, provincial chairpersons; Paul Madzore (Harare), Wachi Sibanda (Matabeleland South), Wilfstus Sitemere (Masvingo), Costin Muguti (Midlands North), Julius Magarangoma (Manicaland), Sengezo Tshabangu (Matabeleland North), Bulawayo provincial secretary Regie Moyo as well as Evelyn Masaiti from the Women's Assembly, while other leaders reportedly gave apologies.
Biti was also mandated with writing to parliament notifying the speaker Jacob Mudenda that "no parliamentarian or councillor would be fired unless there is in the constitution of the MDC a clause that calls for recall.
"The will of the povo that voted in these officials shall remain supreme up to the end of their terms," Biti said.
In a move that seemed to detach the group from the original MDC-T, Biti said; "We recognise the country's liberators and believe that it should not be segmented because those that clothed and fed the nationalists are also our liberators.
"We only have a problem with the liberation movement because it has been hijacked by a parasitic elite and ours is a continuation of the unfinished business of the liberation struggle."
Problems in the MDC-T began soon after the opposition's humiliating electoral loss last July when calls for Tsvangirai's removal grew.