In-Fighting Rocks MDC-Tsvangirai - Minister Of Energy "Suspended"

It emerges now that the MDC-T is badly divided, with three factions all opposed to Morgan Tsvangirai working very hard to gain control of the structures of the party. Leading this race is the faction led by Lucia Matibenga, an MDC MP and former Women's Assembly Chair, who was ousted by Tsvangirai despite being elected at Congress to lead that body. In her place, Tsvangirai imposed Theresa Makone. The MDC-T leader is openly accused in National Council meetings of running the party in the same fashion Mugabe runs ZANU PF

Harare, Zimbabwe, 24 October 2009

Revelations from within the National Council and the National Executive Council of the MdC-Tsvangirai show that the party is badly fractured, with three factions opposed to Morgan Tsvangirai all battling to gain supremacy in the opposition party led by the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

The infighting has gotten so bad, that the Minister of Energy in the Inclusive Government, former Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri, who is also the Organising Secretary of the party, has been stopped from carrying out his party duties, although this is said by Tsvangirai to be "temporary".

Specifically, the three factions in the MDC-T are referred to as:

  • The Mudzuri Faction - led, of course by the Organising Secretary and the Minister of Energy (an extremely capable administrator, by the way, whom I personally identified in 2003) as standing head and shoulders over Morgan Tsvangirai. This faction, according to a senior minister and member of the MDC National Council "is very strong in the structures of the party" by virtue of the position of its leader. Tsvangirai is aware of this and has asked Mudzuri to suspend his activities as Organising secretary, ostensibly in order to "concentrate on your government job and strengthen our (MDCT's) hand in government"
  • The Tendai Biti faction, led by the Finance Minister and the one MDC Minister who is now so powerful in practical terms that he is essentially a second president of Zimbabwe when it comes to the economy and the running of the economic affairs of Zimbabwe. Biti, according to high-placed sources in the MDC National Council and National Executive Council, is also strongly opposed to Morgan Tsvangirai continuing to lead the party. He was not party to the butchering of the MDC Constitution, which happened in February and was revealed last week by The Independent newspaper in Harare. Tsvangirai butchered the constitution of the MDC, deleting the two-term limit for the post of president of the party and leaving it open-ended, essentially ensuring that he will, if the people allow it, be a Life President of the MDC-T (which now carries his name as its own).
  • The Matibenga Faction, led by the former MDC Women's League, who won elections to lead that body at the MDC-T Congress in 2006, but was removed unilaterally by Tsvangirai. The MDC president conducted a clandestine meeting at a restaurant owned by Thokozani Khupe in Bulawayo, during which he threw out the votes of his party members, who had elected Matibenga. He appointed Theresa Makone in Matibenga's place. That was an extremely unpopular move with supporters and resulted in Matibenga gaining a strong foothold amongst the grassroots. Her faction now commands majority support within the MDC-T.
The Matibenga Faction apparently now controls six provinces (the MDC-T has divided the country into 12 provinces as opposed to the country ten legislative provinces) of the twelve provinces.

Matibenga's group is known within the MDC-T to control the following provinces:

  • Bulawayo Metropolitan Province
  • Matabeleland North
  • Matabeleland South
  • Midlands North
  • Midlands South
  • Masvingo
This then means Matibenga and her group control 50% of the provinces within the MDC-T structures.

Tendai Biti is strong only because of his position as Secretary-General, which means he controls the disbursement of resources to the structures. It means that those who are against him can not come out openly for fear of being starved of resources.

Mudzuri's suspension as Organising Secretary is not official. The Energy Minister and organising Secretary has been simply told to stop his duties temporarily to concentrate on his ministerial obligations. His duties as Organising Secretary are now being carried out by Morgan Komichi, Mudzuri's Deputy who hails from Hwange. Komichi is said to be part of Tsvangirai's "Kitchen Cabinet".

Tsvangirai has also "suspended" some MDC-T National Council members seen as opposed to him. One of these apparently is a Chinhara who hails from Midlands. He is said to have won primaries for parliament (Redcliff Constituency) but was barred by Tsvangirai from standing as the official candidate.

Also barred from contesting, although he had won primaries within the party was one Emmanuel Chisvuure, who was barred from contesting Budiriro Constituency by Tsvangirai because he was seen as a supporter of Matibenga and opposed to the Prime Minister.

Henry Dzinotyiweyi (who resides in Avondale) was imposed on the Budiriro Constituency after the barring of Chisvuure. Dzinotyiwei is the now the sitting MP for Budiriro as a result of what Tsvangirai did.

This, more than anything else, dented Tsvangirai's chances in the March elections, and not the emergence of Simba Makoni as apologists of Morgan Tsvangirai want to say at every opportunity in their fear of the contuinuing challenge posed by the popular former Finance Minister. Disenchantment with Tsvangirai's leadership had already been present and people only felt that they did not have an alternative. Makoni proved to be such an alternative.

There is huge discontent within the MDC because of these shenanigans of Tsvangirai, with all three factions determined to ensure that Tsvangirai goes.

This is why the Prime Minister was put in a corner in Bulawayo during the meeting that eventually resolved to "consult" the members of the MDC on whether the party should leave the Inclusive Government or not.

Neither the National Council nor the National Executive Council has yet met to endorse the "disengagement" announced by Tsvangirai, with a majority of them said to be demanding such a meeting. They want to know why Tsvangirai announced this decision without waiting for the results of consultations of the MDC-T membership and grassroots.

With such a divided party behind him, actively de-campaigning him within the MDC-T structures, Tsvangirai is unlikely to survive beyond the next election, when Simba Makoni, whose party now commands some 700 000 members nationwide, likely to prove his undoing.


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