MDC-T legislator Vincent Tsvangirai has made a turnabout saying he will not contest in upcoming 2023 elections if party leader Douglas Mwonzora remains at the helm of the opposition.
Tsvangirai is the son of Morgan Tsvangirai the late founding leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
His threats come at a time factionalism is rearing its ugly head in the MDC-T as the tussle for control of the opposition party continues to rock ahead of this month’s elective congress.
MDC-T leader, Mwonzora outfoxed presidential aspirants Norest Marara and chairman Morgan Komichi, as the national council endorsed him as the sole candidate for the congress.
Apparently, the move has attracted disgruntlement within the party, with members questioning the legality of the national council that endorsed Mwonzora.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com, Tsvangirai accused Mwonzora of throwing the constitution out through the window in imposing himself as the leader of the party.
“It is the manner in which the party is operating which is unconstitutional and undemocratic for me to continue under the leadership of Douglas Mwonzora and the current MDC atmosphere. I will not be contesting under his leadership if he is the presidential candidate,” said Tsvangirai.
Mwonzora appears to be losing grip in the party which is smarting from dismal performance of the opposition in this year’s bye-elections which saw the party firing blanks.
Senior members in the party have been reported to have lost faith in the leadership style of Mwonzora in the race for next year’s elections.
The scheduled congress – which is expected to rubber stamp Mwonzora’s candidature for next year’s elections – appears to be on the rocks as Norest Marara on Thursday filed an urgent chamber application challenging the sole candidature of Mwonzora.
Marara argues that the party flouted the constitution and did not follow procedures that build up to an elective congress.
“I have seen the urgent chamber application by Marara, it is warrantied. It is the very reason he took Chamisa to court. If the MDC is to have any future we must reject all undemocratic practices that are taking part in the party,” he said.
In 2020 MDC-T was rocked by similar factionalism ahead of an extraordinary congress, resulting in then leader Thokozani Khupe jumping ship.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube downplayed the opposition factionalism.
“We are unaware of Vincent Tsvangirai’s displeasure because he knows party channels to follow if there was such displeasure. In any case, issues to do with what our national council resolved were issues that were done transparently,” said Dube. – Newzim