Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Poor turn out at Renewal Team congress

HARARE – Poor turnout characterised the MDC Renewal congress that started yesterday with a small number of delegates, members of the civic society and diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe attending.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti
Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti

Party secretary-general, Mr Tendai Biti, was expected to be confirmed as party president, while the new outfit was expected to assume the name People’s Democratic Party.

Less than 300 delegates attended the convention against 7 000 that the party had predicted amid reports that the party failed to secure enough funds to carry some of the members to Harare.

More than half of the bays were empty, while chairs on the floor were only occupied by less than 30 representatives from civic society that had been invited to give solidarity messages.

The convention, which was supposed to start at 9am, kicked off more than one and half hours later. The few embassies that were represented sent junior officers.

Secretary for international relations, Mr Gorden Moyo, told delegates that he would defy a plea by most embassies not to publicly acknowledge their presence.

Addressing delegates, Mr Biti launched two documents, Holistic Programme for Economic Transformation (HOPE), which he said was meant to address the economic challenges while Agenda for the Restoration and Rehabilitation of Electoral Sustainability (ARREST), was meant to give the country’s political direction.

Mr Biti said the past 15 years that they had been in the MDC-T was a wasted period because it did not take them anyway.

“We have been disappointed by our own collective idiocy. You saw our nakedness in the inclusive government. You saw our stupidity in the way we are implementing policies in our local authorities. I want to apologise for that,” said Mr Biti.

He said the only way for the country to come back on its feet was to first remove Zanu-PF and replace it with a National Transitional Authority that would pave way for “fresh and fair elections.”

One of the caretaker leaders of the MDC Renewal Team, Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo’s speech was characterised by denigrating the MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai for a big man mentality.

Dr Sipepa-Nkomo was tipped to become Vice President while Ms Lucia Matibenga would assume the post of national chairperson in polls that were said to be held late last night.

Mr Biti and other former legislators were expelled from Parliament after they broke away from the MDC-T led by Mr Tsvangirai to form the MDC-Renewal.

The MDC-Renewal has since split with Mr Elton Mangoma forming the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe after clashing on the way forward.