MDC on smear campaign against me — Mangoma
HARARE – Elton Mangoma, the suspended MDC deputy treasurer-general, has dismissed charges that he embezzled party funds to launch his presidential bid as a smear campaign.
Mangoma was suspended by the MDC for allegedly contravening the party’s code of conduct and bringing the 15-year-old movement into disrepute.
He stands accused of using party funds to influence and bribe party structures to ascend to the presidency as well as organising and participating in factional activities.
In a charge sheet compiled by party chairperson Lovemore Moyo, Mangoma stands accused of bringing the party into disrepute after he conducted media interviews in connection with a letter he wrote to Morgan Tsvangirai asking him to step down as party president.
But now Mangoma has come out guns blazing, saying the charges were nothing more than a smear campaign aimed at preventing him from campaigning for the MDC presidency.
In a telephone interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mangoma said he was baffled at how his party took so long to present the charges.
“It took them two weeks to present the charges and the communique that they initially brought out was different from the charge sheet,” Mangoma said. “ I only got these charges on Sunday.”
The former Energy minister also dismissed charges that he embezzled party funds to bribe and influence party structures.
“It’s a smear campaign, they are fishing in the dark, the finances they are talking about had been explained and accepted by them,” Mangoma said.
“They are trying to block me from campaigning, that is why they are now talking of me not seeing members of the party during my suspension.
“Since when has a senior member of the party sought the permission of another senior member to see party members?
“We are the leadership and that is what we are supposed to do. How can senior leadership be prevented from seeing people? Politics is about people.”
He pointed out that he had every right to meet MDC supporters to canvass for support because he was only suspended from the party and not expelled.
“I have always seen people and I will continue to see people,” he told the Daily News.
“I have been suspended and not expelled. I am not in solitary confinement. They should tell the people not to see me if they are really in control of the people.”
Jacob Mafume, Mangoma’s lawyer, said he would challenge the charges in court, citing MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary-general Tendai Biti, Moyo and the party as respondents.
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