A FRESH storm is brewing in the MDC-T with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai threatening to dissolve the party’s provincial structures accused of waging a social media campaign to hold another elective congress next year to choose a new leadership.
The push for a fresh congress comes three months after the main opposition party held an extraordinary congress in Harare following the defection of several top officials to the MDC Renewal Team.
Tsvangirai’s party was due to hold its congress in 2016, but had to bring the dates forward following the departure of some of its top executives who included secretary-general Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma, among others.
MDC-T insiders told NewsDay yesterday that a group of disgruntled party members was lobbying through social media platforms — WhatsApp and Facebook — for the party to hold another congress in 2016 in line with the party’s original plans.
The party members claimed they were not happy with some of the constitutional amendments adopted at the congress, especially the decision to give Tsvangirai wide executive powers to run the party.
Tsvangirai is alleged to have read the riot act when he met the Harare provincial executive last Friday and threatened to wield the axe on party members involved in the alleged campaign.
“Tsvangirai started by accusing the structures of mooting to have another congress in 2016 and questioned why some of the members had profile pictures of the losing standing committee candidates on their WhatsApp profiles,” an MDC-T insider said.
“Tsvangirai told the provincial members that this was a final warning and next time he would be forced to dissolve the committees if these matters continued
being discussed on the social media networks.”
Several MDC-T stalwarts, chief among them former national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada, lost their posts at the congress although they had an upper hand in the run-up to the congress held in Harare last October.
Sources said the campaign was being fuelled by some of the losing candidates to ensure they bounced back into the political limelight.
Contacted for comment yesterday, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu could neither deny nor confirm the alleged plot, saying he was not at liberty to discuss the party’s confidential matters with the media.
“Deliberations of party structures are confidential and, therefore, I cannot comment on what was said in the meeting, but what was resolved,” Gutu said.
Gutu, however, described the push for a fresh congress next year as mischievous.
“The next congress will be held after four years, that is in 2019. Any talk of a congress in 2016 is misguided, frivolous and vexatious, and, as such, that type of bar talk must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves,” he said.
The MDC-T is yet to recover from the rifts created by its last congress and is also battling to maintain its relevance as the government-in-waiting following its crushing defeat by Zanu PF in the 2013 general elections.
Addressing party members from Harare at the Rajiv Gandhi Hall at the Harare Showgrounds on Saturday, Tsvangirai said: “Desist from communicating information on intimate party deliberations on WhatsApp because you will be giving Zanu PF free intelligence.”