By Thulani Ncube
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has rejected claims that its leader Morgan Tsvangirai abused party funds as alleged by a letter written to a local newspaper by a person claiming to be exiled Treasurer General Roy Bennett.
“We shall be releasing more damaging information concerning abuse of party funds by Tsvangirai and his friends in due course. We advised him to resign with his dignity intact, but since he has made his bed, he must lie in it,” the letter said.
But in a statement, party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said:
“The MDC is totally astounded by the letter … attributed to Roy Bennett. If indeed Bennett genuinely wanted an audit into the MDC finances then he would have made his request to the Standing Committee, the National Executive or the National Council of the Party justifying his reasons for such a demand.
“It is in fact Tsvangirai who has demanded transparency in the handling of the finances of the party. Time and time again the (party leader) has demanded that the National Executive should be furnished with detailed reports on the party’s finances periodically.
“It is a pity when an impression is created that the President is an impediment to transparency. A simple glance at Tsvangirai’s history in the ZCTU, SATUC and as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe clearly shows that he indeed is a man of financial integrity when it comes to running organisations.”
“The custodian of party funds is the Treasurer General of the Party. It is from him that transparency is expected and not from officials who have nothing to do with financial management,” he said.
“Trying to force Tsvangirai to resign through threats of exposure of financial impropriety is to try to effect leadership change through extortion and this is highly unacceptable in a democratic party,” he said.
“The MDC knows that Zanu PF is afraid to face Tsvangirai in future elections and is investing heavily in trying to get our President removed as leader of the MDC.
“The National Executive and the National Council of the Party have laid the party’s position on leadership and the position is that National leaders will be elected or removed by congress.
“It is therefore not acceptable for any person to try to effect leadership changes outside the Congress because such a move will not be democratic.
“Our leaders are democratically elected and therefore attempts by a financially powerful few individuals to impose a leader on the MDC will be resisted by the membership of MDC and it will fail.”
Political commentator Langton Makoni told Nehanda Radio “those opposed to Tsvangirai’s leadership clearly do not have the grassroots support and cannot defeat him at a congress, that’s why they are hoping to character assassinate him using the media and hope to undermine him into stepping down.”