By Patrice Makova
The MDC-T has been rocked by fresh divisions over the imposition of mayors and chairpersons of local council committees allegedly by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
This follows a petition written by MDC-T youths questioning the party’s internal democratic systems and processes, including the imposition of mayoral candidates.
Sources said after losing the July 31 elections to President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai was now trying to assert his authority in the party by usurping the powers of elected councillors and making unilateral appointments.
A senior official said there was tension in the party after Tsvangirai began to directly appoint mayors, their deputies and chairpersons of committees in various cities and towns won by the MDC-T under the guise of interviewing candidates.
In Harare, the official said Kambuzuma councillor, Thomas Muzuva, was last week imposed as deputy mayor of Harare by the MDC-T leader. Tsvangirai also allegedly personally selected the chairpersons of the committees such as human resources, audit, finance, housing, environment and business development, putting loyalists at the positions.
The official said similar impositions have been done in Mutare, with the exercise expected to be done in other cities such as Chitungwiza, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Gweru which are controlled by the MDC-T.
He added that eyebrows have also been raised after Tsvangirai indicated that he would meet newly elected Harare councillors on Monday to announce his preferred candidate for the post of mayor of the capital.
“Officials are now being appointed because of their loyalty and for patronage purposes. These imposed officials will prove costly to the party because some of them have no capacity to improve service delivery which is the backbone of rebuilding the party in the next five years,” he said.
“Councillors who were directly elected by the people are being side-lined. It appears we have not learned from the mistakes made during the process of primary elections.”
Although the official said he was not yet privy to Tsvangirai’s preferred mayoral candidate for Harare, he said the MDC-T leader has indicated that officials who contested the parliamentary elections and lost should not run for the post.
This would rule out the likes of former Energy and Power Development minister, Elton Mangoma and party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora who were said to be vying for the post.
Former deputy Justice minister, Obert Gutu, outgoing mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda and chairperson of the Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe, Warship Dumba are also said to be among the several interested in the Harare mayoral post.
Another official said Tsvangirai was getting bad advice from some members of the national standing committee who wanted to destroy both the party and the MDC-T leader.
“I wonder if he is getting advice from technocrats. He has now become authoritarian and this is causing friction and raises the possibility of a fragmentation of the party before the 2018 elections,” he said.
The official said in the event that town clerks in the concerned cities decide to hold the elections of mayors and other office-holders using secret ballot, Tsvangirai’s nominees risked being rejected, with the possibility that Zanu PF could capitalise on this.
Mwonzora, said Tsvangirai as the leader of the MDC-T had a say in the appointment of mayors and other officials and therefore could not be accused of imposing candidates. Zimbabwe Standard