31 August 2014

Zimbabwe: Biti, Mangoma Eye Renewal Team Top Post

Photo: Nehanda Radio
MDC-T supporters (file photo).

A fight for power has reportedly erupted within the newly-formed MDC Renewal Team, a splinter group from the MDC-T led by Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma.

The fight is said to pit Biti and Mangoma, both of whom reportedly desire to sit at the helm of the organisation.

The outfit is set to go to congress in six months where they are expected to formally announce the name of their party and elect its leaders.

Biti and Mangoma have reportedly started canvassing for support among members.

The team which cut ties with Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T early this year over irreconcilable leadership squabbles goes to congress in March 2015, to elect substantive leaders.

Mangoma was the first to come out openly about the need for leadership renewal in the MDC-T, a move that nearly cost his life as angry party members attacked him at the party's Harvest House headquarters.

"There are fights in the party [Renewal Team] now over who should be the leader. Others are campaigning for Biti while others are backing Mangoma. Those on the Biti camp include Solomon Madzore who is the youth assembly president and acting organising secretary while others are going for Mangoma," said an insider.

Mangoma, however, yesterday refuted the allegations that there was any canvassing going on in the party at the moment.

"No dates have been set for the congress and there is no campaigning going on. This party is about democracy and not personal ambition and I'm ready to serve the party in any capacity," Mangoma said.

"One of the things about this party is that we don't want the big man politics so all persons interested can offer themselves or the members can also nominate people to positions."

Biti's phone was unavailable yesterday.

The party is currently chaired by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo on an interim basis until the 2015 congress.

Meanwhile, the team is holding a youth convention in Gweru where the position of youth leader will be discussed.

The battle for that position is between Madzore and Promise Mkwananzi. However, Madzore faces a handicap in that by the time the congress takes place he will be above the age 35 and therefore ineligible.

"We will meet on Sunday [September 7] in Gweru and youths want to take charge of the assembly. We know already that there are moves to campaign for who is to be president of the party ahead of congress and the fight is on Biti and Mangoma," another MDC Renewal member said.

Both Mkwananzi and Madzore were unreachable for comment.

Renewal spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the party would hold its congress next year and added that he doubted if people had started campaigning for the top posts.

"As for the youths, they must deal with issues in the best interest of the movement. If people have ideas, those ideas should be raised and we will have our congress in March 2015 where all positions are open. I don't think canvassing has started," Mafume said.

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