By Lance Guma
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The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai has suspended former Marondera Central farmer turned legislator Ian Kay over comments he made allegedly calling for leadership renewal within the party.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, Kay confirmed that the Mashonaland East provincial executive had decided to suspend him during a meeting at Harvest House on Monday pending a hearing at national level. A letter stating this decision is set to follow soon.
Several officials claim Tsvangirai is moving to re-assert his authority in the party and has started a purge of all senior leaders who have been making public statements undermining his leadership. Exiled Treasurer General Roy Bennett is said to be next on the political chopping board.
Kay was quizzed over his remarks in support of Bennett’s call for Tsvangirai to step down. In one of the reports Kay is said to have likened the MDC-T election scenario to a soccer game where the coach must be changed if the team kept losing, an apparent reference to Tsvangirai.
But in an interview with Nehanda Radio on Tuesday evening, Kay denied ever making such remarks.
Another senior official told Nehanda Radio “There is nothing wrong in people expressing their views, this is a democratic party, but having said that we need discipline, we have platforms for those views to be expressed. You never hear Zanu PF MP’s publicly saying Mugabe must step down do you?”
“Ian Kay and Roy Bennett have been attacking our party leader publicly thereby undermining him and the party. Tsvangirai was elected via a congress just like Bennett himself and that mandate ends in 2016. Why are they trying to remove him unconstitutionally via the backdoor?” the official said.
Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) director Pedzisai Ruhanya said “the MDC must show a difference between itself and Zanu PF in the manner they handle dissenting opinions no matter how unpalatable they maybe to the leadership.
“My expectation was that the Mashonaland East provincial leadership talk to Ian Kay and understand his position, interrogate that position without any form of intimidation and suspension and move on.
“This is because the view of Ian Kay is important because he was man enough to say it publicly than a lot of them who do it under the cover of darkness. When the next congress comes people will be able to vote based on the frank opinions expressed by members in the past.
“If these dissenters are correct the people shall judge them in 2016 at the next MDC-T congress,” Ruhanya told Nehanda Radio.