FACTIONAL fights that characterised Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC-T ahead of last October’s elective congress have resurfaced with senior party members exchanging harsh words on social media platforms.
by Everson Mushava/Moses Matenga
A conversation on a WhatsApp group composed of MDC-T standing committee members leaked to NewsDay shows the party has been embroiled in serious power struggles.
The nasty exchanges were triggered by the appointment of Costa Machingauta as acting national organiser in Gweru last week reportedly by party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora without the consent of other standing committee members.
He was appointed because national organiser Abednico Bhebhe is on study leave, while his deputy, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, was said to be on sick leave.
The chats started with deputy treasurer-general Charlton Hwende asking why Machingauta’s appointment was done clandestinely.
Hwende queried the constitutionality of appointing Machingauta, who was not in the party’s standing committee.
Other members like Sesel Zvidzai joined in the debate, saying Machingauta’s appointment posed a constitutional crisis in the party.
MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe explained that Bhebhe and Mahlangu were on leave.
But all hell broke loose when Mwonzora mocked Hwende’s low votes at last year’s congress saying: “The people who had the least votes always say too much.”
Mwonzora escalated the fight when he said Hwende, as a deputy, was not supposed to be in the standing committee.
Hwende immediately hit back saying: “For a secretary-general to say that deputies are sitting in the SC (standing committee) illegally that’s very low even for your standards. You are an embarrassment, Even if I got one vote . . . and this coming from a lawyer? I am ashamed.”
Another party member interjected: “What has more votes yielded for the people of Zimbabwe who are suffering? You have failed to protect the workers of our party and call yourself numbers.”
Hwende accused Mwonzora of pocketing $4 000 while party workers had gone for months without pay.
They also accused Mwonzora of claiming to be powerful when Tsvangirai was the only centre of power.
They said his duty was to implement Tsvangirai’s orders like what he did with the recall of MDC Renewal Team MPs.
Mwonzora fired back saying: “But I certainly don’t bad mouth my own superior. Others do. I win my way into leadership. Other people sponsor rag-tag youths to pass a vote of no confidence in their own superiors.”
He added: “Those who say $4 000 was taken, please post the proof thereof for this group to see. Those who go to the Press to bad mouth their leaders and pretend not to see, please stand!”
The party’s youth leader Happymore Chidziva said the party was in trouble if national leaders were involved in mudslinging and failing to restore order in the party and take power from Zanu PF.
“At our level, we must be busy not even here on WhatsApp. We have a lot of work to do, we need to be serious,” Chidziva said.
Mwonzora yesterday refused to comment over the cyber fights.
“I have nothing personal with anyone. The discussion was not for public consumption and I don’t know who leaked them,” he said.
Hwende said: “I am not allowed to speak to the Press on party business without the permission of the secretary-general. You can contact the party’s official spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu.”
Gutu said the communication was internal and not for public consumption.
He said Tsvangirai used his powers to appoint Machingauta, who was a senior member of the party.
“Thus, there is absolutely nothing amiss and/or untoward about Hon Machingauta’s recent appointment as acting national organising secretary until Bhebhe returns from study leave,” Gutu said.
But insiders said the chats had exposed serious internal fights, which could boomerang if left unchecked.
They alleged that Mwonzora was afraid of losing control to a faction linked to former organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, whom he defeated for the secretary-general’s post last year.
Khupe, Mwonzora and Gutu, the sources said, were fighting in the same corner, while Hwende, Chamisa, Theresa Makone, the party’s treasurer general, were fighting in the other corner.
Machingauta lost to Mahlangu and is believed to be in Mwonzora’s camp.
“In terms of seniority among deputies, Paurina Mpariwa, who is Mwonzora’s deputy is supposed to act. It is a battle to control the structures when Bhebhe is away,” the source added.
Below are excerpts from the chat ….
[18/07 22:00] Chalton Hwende: Is it true that Machingauta was introduced in midlands today as the acting national Organiser ?
[18/07 22:00] Chalton Hwende: What happened to the Organiser elected by congress?
[18/07 22:01] Chalton Hwende: This rumor is getting currency
[18/07 22:07] Hon VP Khupe: The organiser is at the Lupane state university doing a bloc for a month as you know Hon Mahlangu is on sick leave
[18/07 22:08] Chalton Hwende: But it’s not constitutional to appoint a person who is not in the SC (standing Committee)
[18/07 22:10] Hon VP Khupe: I’m not sure about that
[18/07 22:12] Chalton Hwende: But there is no such provision but anyway kungoudzawo Vamwe kwakanaka
[18/07 22:12] Chalton Hwende: Kungoti Standing committie yonzwa ne rumor pakangooma
[19/07 00:17] Hon Mwonzora: Mr Hwende. Why are You in the Standing Committee when Congress said you should not be.
[19/07 00:18] Chalton Hwende: Kikik
[19/07 00:18] Chalton Hwende: Which congress
[19/07 00:19] Hon Mwonzora: The people who had the least votes always say too much
[19/07 00:19] Chalton Hwende: The council made a resolution Leader SG (Secretary-General)
[19/07 00:20] Chalton Hwende: The executive reaffirmed that decision
[19/07 00:22] Chalton Hwende: For a Secretary General to say that deputies are sitting in the SC illegally that’s very low even for your standard
[19/07 00:22] Sesel Zvidzai Gweru: I think there are gaps in the constitution…
[19/07 00:23] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: SG what has the least votes got to do with what he asked? so are you saying that those with more votes not sure how you measure the votes can not ask anything they don’t understand
[19/07 00:23] Hon Mwonzora: Machingauta will be there
[19/07 00:25] Hon Mwonzora: Votes are simply counted
[19/07 00:25] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: I was not aware that Deputies do not sit in the SC and what do you mean we are illegal when the NE (National Executive) affirmed us
[19/07 00:25] Chalton Hwende: Kikik
[19/07 00:26] Sesel Zvidzai Gweru: If a department is rendered non function consequent upon some unforseen circumstances it’s not fatal if the Pres makes a decision and seek council condonation at the next meeting of the highest policy making board. Council is in August and council may accede to the president’s request
[19/07 00:26] Chalton Hwende: Least votes?
[19/07 00:26] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: So who was not voted into office SG
[19/07 00:26] Chalton Hwende: You are an embarrassment even if I got 1 vote
[19/07 00:27] Chalton Hwende: But I am member of the SC
[19/07 00:29] Chalton Hwende: And this coming from a lawyer!
[19/07 00:29] Hon Mwonzora: Because those who have few votes always want to exclude other people. We who had more votes don’t
[19/07 00:30] Chalton Hwende: Kikik
[19/07 00:30] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: He sure is an embarrassment. I’m SC member. You are an embarrassment to our party of excellence
[19/07 00:30] Chalton Hwende: More votes?!
[19/07 00:30] Chalton Hwende: What have you done with your more votes
[19/07 00:30] Chalton Hwende: You can’t even pay workers
[19/07 00:31] Chalton Hwende: All SG’s used to pay workers
[19/07 00:31] Chalton Hwende: But you only get ma $4000 for yourself and you call that leadership
[19/07 00:31] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: What has more votes yielded for the people of Zimbabwe who are suffering you have failed to protect the workers of our party and call yourself numbers
[19/07 00:32] Chalton Hwende: I am ashamed
[19/07 00:32] Hon Mwonzora: I certainly removed Renewal from Parliament
[19/07 00:33] Chalton Hwende: Kwaa
[19/07 00:33] Chalton Hwende: That was a congress decision
[19/07 00:34] Chalton Hwende: And the standing committee chaired by the President instructed you to write a letter to parliament
[19/07 00:34] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: 4000 for you is ok whilst workers are being fired from their lodgings
[19/07 00:34] Chalton Hwende: So the President not you recalled the renewal party from parliament
[19/07 00:35] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: It was not you who removed the renewals it was congress all what you did was to deliver a message to parliament on behalf of congress
[19/07 00:37] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: Are you sure you know that our party is mandate driven kwete humbimbindoga
[19/07 00:40] Chalton Hwende: Ma votes ema wristbands
[19/07 00:40] Chalton Hwende: Kwaaa
[19/07 00:41] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: You are not the President and everything you do is on behalf of congress SG; you can never usurp their powers
[19/07 00:42] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: There is one centre of power and it’s with the President; you did not recall anyone – you were just a messenger
[19/07 01:11] Hon Mwonzora: I certainly don’t bad mouth my own supirior. Others do. I win my way into leadership. Other people sponsor rag tag youths to pass a vote of no confidence in their own superiors.
[19/07 01:21] Hon Mwonzora: Those who say 4000 was taken please post the proof thereof for this group to see. Those who go to the press to bad mouth their leaders and pretend not to see please stand m
[19/07 01:32] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: But you can bad mouth illegal deputies
[19/07 06:59] Chalton Hwende: Douggie you can do better than this honestly
[19/07 07:01] Bvondo: Good morning leadership
[19/07 08:45] Hon Mpariwa: Ummmmmm hey
[19/07 08:47] Bvondo: We should retreat and shape our organisation. We need to move than to remain in these uneccessary fights
[19/07 16:08] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: We have been giving our best Cde Bvondo but to be insulted for a clarification is not on surely we were not even aware that we are illegal why were we not told that we are not SC members is beyond me especially when we were endorsed by the NE it sure boggles the mind
[19/07 16:12] Chalton Hwende: Senior people must respect the decisions of superior bodies. The National Council made a decision which must be respected. This is a closed chapter we can’t be pushed out. We were elected by congress we don’t have to justify our presence in the SC to the SG
[19/07 17:07] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: Since SG you have the powers to remove illegal SC members like the deputies which you claim are illegal do us a favour call the NC meeting so that you table your decision
[19/07 17:15] 14:14 If ye shall ask any: What is the point of risking our lives when you know that we are illegal and put our lives at harm’s way in the name of fighting for the suffering people of Zimbabwe who a wallowing in abject poverty whilst as deputies we are violating the supreme law of our party of excellence spare us the embarrassment of misrepresenting the people who believe in our President as their future.