Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

MDC-T divided over Secretary General post

By Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – Deep divisions that could further cripple the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC and weaken it as an opposition movement have emerged after a camp of bootlickers crafted contentious
recommendations aimed at dismantling the influential secretary-general’s post.

Morgan Tsvangirai, Morgen Komichi and Nelson Chamisa
Morgan Tsvangirai, Morgen Komichi and Nelson Chamisa

Morgen Komichi, the party’s deputy chairperson, is heading the constitutional review committee, and introduced the changes on Sunday.

Komichi is also reportedly aiming to be appointed the deputy president in a contentious amendment that could see the likes of Thokozani Khupe dumped.

But the committee, sources said, flatly rejected Komichi’s “shocking proposals.”

“That report was dismissed by the committee because that is not what people said,” said a high level source. “It is someone who is trying to ride on the name of Tsvangirai.”

The raft of changes, which political analysts have described as, “undemocratic, stone-age, archaic, authoritarian” are among other issues aimed at crippling the ambitions of the party’s organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and also putting the likes of Khupe in the firing line, sources said.

Apparently, Chamisa, whose political star has been steadily rising since he plunged into mainstream politics as the MDC youth leader, has been carving and positioning himself to be
the next secretary-general but Tsvangirai’s loyalists are having none of it.

Komichi and some party leaders, who have survived on Tsvangirai’s benevolence, and allegedly belong to the so-called “kitchen cabinet,” intend to stop the high-flying former Information Communication Technology minister from taking the secretary-general’s post that has been now whittled to that of a mere national secretary.

According to the report that was leaked to the Daily News, the secretary-general post had “too much power, created another centre of power and failed to adhere to party constitutions.”

With the MDC’s previous splits all linked to the powerful secretary-generals, the report paints a damning and damaging picture on the post as a centre for “disunity and factionalism.”

Citing the audacity of past secretary-generals Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, who left the MDC in 2005 and 2014 respectively to pursue their political interests after a public and nasty fallout with Tsvangirai, the Komichi camp reasoned that the office of the secretary-general was involved “in anti-party smear campaigns and looting party resources by creating private companies.”

In a move that some inside the party feel is tantamount to the MDC taking the Zanu PF route, Komichi and his backers want the powers of the secretary-general to be whittled and to be put “under supervision of the president and the office to be located in the national executive, the national secretary to report to the president.”

While the likes of Biti had unfettered control of the party, anyone who would want to take the position now would effectively be a toy boy of Tsvangirai, insiders said.

Chamisa and the party’s spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora, who had earlier indicated a willingness to go for the post, are no longer at ease to gun for it, as the national secretary is now supposed to work “for the party full time and shall not be a candidate in any national elections.”

Yesterday, Mwonzora referred questions to Komichi who was not immediately available.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, a media and democracy scholar, took to social media to pen his disapproval with the latest developments in the MDC.

“Like Zanu PF, the MDC is heaping anachronistic powers on its leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a dubious, contested and self-serving constitutional review process positing that is what the people want in order to address its internal fissures,” Ruhanya wrote.

“What the self-serving committee led by Morgen Komichi who wants to be appointed second Vice President (ha ha ha) is arguing is that effective political leadership means centralisation of power; that democratic principles are bad for political control; that the leader is always right and must have absolute power and national support is consistent and supporters are gullible.

“All these are false assumptions. Going by this continuous erosion of MDC and Tsvangirai’s democratic credentials, why cannot the MDC remove the word democracy and just be called Movement for Change (MC)!”

Luke Tamborinyoka, the MDC presidential spokesperson, said Zimbabwe has had a bad experience of autocracy, dictatorship and the abuse of Constitutions.

“The MDC and president Morgan Tsvangirai pledge to the people of this country that the exercise will be a truly objective process; a process that will not be abused to constitutionally anoint a tin-pot dictator in the MDC leadership, as has been wrongly peddled by others,” he said.

“We say no to the creation of dictators through clauses, verses and chapters of our constitutional  review. We are certain that the fears of the doomsayers are grossly misplaced.

“In any case, the constitutional review exercise is not meant to enhance the powers of any person as all congress offices are being treated as faceless vacancies as no one at this stage, including president Tsvangirai, has been nominated by any province.”

Tamborinyoka said as the current leader of the MDC, Tsvangirai will not allow the process to degenerate into the creation of all-powerful individuals, especially in the presidency.

“Zimbabwe has sad stories to tell on the abuse of the powers of an executive president and we have learnt that autocracy is a monumental vice that cannot be mimicked, even in a party constitution,” he said. Daily News