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wants Tsvangirai to quit as MDC-T leader
September 11, 2013
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) official Roy Bennett has
called for a new leadership of the troubled opposition party, suggesting
that Morgan Tsvangirai’s continued stay in power did not reflect
the will of the people.
sharp assessment in an interview with Business Day, he was at odds
with the rest of the MDC-T’s top brass, who have endorsed
the opposition leader.
has had the MDC-T change its constitution, which limits the leader
to only two terms, saying he would stay on as party president for
as long as the rank and file wanted him to.
has served two terms and is nearly completing a third," Mr
Bennett said. "Deep introspection needs to be undertaken by
our national collective leadership, not for purposes of looking
for scapegoats, but for our party to reinvigorate its leadership
with a leadership which reflects the will of our people."
who served eight months of a one-year jail sentence in Zimbabwe
after coming to blows with then justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
in 2004 during a parliamentary debate, has been living in exile
in South Africa for the past three years.
He fled to South
Africa in September 2010 before the Zanu-PF government could arrest
him on renewed charges of treason.
Efforts to have
him return to Zimbabwe to take the deputy minister of agriculture
position given to him by the MDC-T in the unity government, were
sabotaged by President Robert Mugabe.
Mr Bennett has
remained a key figure and strong fundraiser for the party, having
been re-elected treasurer-general in absentia at the MDC-T’s
congress in 2011.
some within our leadership, as in the case with many political parties,
do not wish the grassroots democratic will of the people to prevail,"
say Mr Bennett’s questioning of Mr Tsvangirai’s leadership
has brought to the surface the "unspoken differences and disgruntlement"
that has been brewing in MDC-T structures for some time.
also surfaced during the party’s election campaign, with allegations
being made of imposed candidates and factionalism. The Manicaland
executive absconded from Mr Tsvangirai’s "star rally"
in the province in protest against his imposition of candidates
It remains unclear
if Mr Tsvangirai will seek a fourth term as party leader. His spokesman
Luke Tamborinyoka on Tuesday said the prerogative (for an extended
term) was in the hands of the party and the elective congress due
to take place in 2016.
will determine that, but so far it has reaffirmed the position of
Mr Tsvangirai as party leader."
analyst Simukai Tinhu said a further manipulation of the party constitution
to cushion Mr Tsvangirai’s presidency bid would set off alarm
bells and provide cannon fodder to his political opponents.
has already once amended his party’s constitution to allow
him to have a third term as leader.
on to the MDC-T leadership for yet another term would no doubt provide
ammunition to Zanu-PF, which could paint him as hypocritical, while
western supporters would no doubt find it more difficult to back
a man engaging in undemocratic practices within his own party,"
said Mr Tinhu.
for a reinvigoration of the party, Mr Bennett pointed out that the
MDC-T still enjoyed support at grassroots levels and ruled out the
possibility of a fresh split in the party.
might be differences at leadership level, as … in most democratic
political parties, but at grassroots levels the MDC-T continues
to be strong and united."
MDC-T is scheduled to hold its 14th anniversary celebrations in
Sakubva stadium in Mutare on Saturday.
A defiant Mr
Tsvangirai intimated that he would keep his grip on power and said:
"For 14 years, the MDC-T has fought a brutal dictatorship using
democratic means and will not relent. We are here to stay."
said the event would celebrate the founding of the MDC-T.
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