Step down and be ‘Mandela’, Tsvangirai told
THE MDC-T faces a split if Morgan Tsvangirai stays on as leader, senior party official Elias Mudzuri said on Sunday, joining a growing chorus of rebellion.
Mudzuri, writing in the Standard newspaper on Sunday, suggested Tsvangirai could “ceremoniously” step down and become the “Mandela of the party”.
The former Harare mayor and Member of Parliament for Warren Park insisted the MDC-T was “still alive”, but warned that “without introspection and debate, Zanu PF will rule this country until the cows come home.”
“Personally, I feel there are several scenarios that should be looked at… I proffer five scenarios and believe one from the five can shape the destiny of the party or its demise,” Mudzuri wrote.
He added: “Scenario one: The status quo remains and MDC-T goes for the 2016 congress with the current leadership.
“Scenario two: there is an urgent extraordinary congress before 2016.
“Scenario four: Morgan Tsvangirai is the godfather of the party. He steps down ceremoniously and becomes a ‘Mandela’ of the party. Structures are re-engineered including the party constitution which will limit the future party president to two terms only.
“Scenario five: Morgan Tsvangirai does not step down. He keeps the support base and those not happy can form their party or join the various sprouting political outfits in the country.”
Mudzuri did not say what his favoured scenario was, but he has been fingered internally by Tsvangirai loyalists as part of a group – led by party treasurer Roy Bennett – which has been advocating for leadership change in the party.
This group – stung by the crushing election defeat by Zanu PF on July 31 – wants Tsvangirai to stand down with dignity, while allowing the party to get a new leader to “re-engineer” the party ahead of the 2018 elections.
Ian Kay, a member of the group calling for leadership change compared Tsvangirai to a “rusty bolt” and a captain of a sinking ship, joining Bennett and another senior figure, Eddie Cross, who have called on the former trade unionist to quit after leading the party since its formation in 1999.
The rebels are said to count the party’s powerful secretary general Tendai Biti among their ranks, but before Mudzuri’s latest intervention – only white members of the MDC-T had openly voiced their discontent.
Tsvangirai’s supporters insist he will not be stampeded to the exit door but will seek a new mandate at the party’s elective congress in 2016, having changed the constitution to remove term limits.