End nigh for Makoni's Mavambo

HARARE - Former Finance minister and Zanu PF politburo member Simba Makoni’s political project Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) is falling apart, the Daily News can reveal.

Formed by a group of disgruntled Zanu PF leaders on the eve of the March 2008 elections and fronted by Makoni, MKD garnered about eight percent of the presidential vote.

Months before another election, the movement which came with so much promise is on the precipice.

Founder members, former office bearers and supporters are exchanging words, amid accusations that Makoni is running down the party.

Makoni, once touted as a potential successor to Mugabe before leaving Zanu PF, is putting up a brave face. But those who have deserted his project say Mavambo is as good as stillborn.

Former party spokesperson Silver Bhebhe claimed that Mavambo is still controlled by people within Zanu PF.

“Yes the party is falling apart. He (Makoni) does not want the party to grow. I think it is a correct assessment that this party was a Zanu PF proxy waiting for its masters in Zanu PF. We would make a resolution and it seems Makoni would go back to his principals, these invisible hands, his handlers and he is probably told not to action the resolution,” charged Bhebhe.

“A lot of guys in the national management committee have resigned, there is no youth assembly, women’s wing, chairman, deputy chairman and no vice president. Basically there is no party. A fish rots from the head,” Bhebhe said.

He accused Makoni of being “a little Mugabe”.

“We needed a compact management team but he wants to centralise power. He wants to be president, chair meetings, write minutes and even wants to be buyer. The leader wants to do everything,” he said.

Bhebhe said the party did not even have a constitution, four years after formation.

“We have a draft constitution that has not been ratified. Basically, we did not have a constitution for four years,” said Bhebhe.

Makoni seemed unmoved.

“Our resolve and conviction is unshaken. There is a problem in Zimbabwe that I think was inculcated into our people by Zanu PF. People join political parties expecting something in return. We are a poor party and some of these things we cannot afford,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.

“They gave their reasons for resigning and we have accepted. MKD is a voluntary organisation and inasmuch as we are sorry for their having left we cannot judge the future of a party on two people. I would have loved to know who else is joining them, if any. Their conviction has changed but we will move on,” Makoni said.

Another ex-party stalwart who was secretary for mobilisation, Philip Chapfunga, concurred with Bhebhe that Makoni has a tendency to centralise power.

“If you are in a party in which one man decides who does what and when then it becomes a problem. You cannot run a party on a part time basis. Zimbabweans do not need that. It shows you are too busy to attend to the problems besetting Zimbabweans and you do not take them that seriously,” said Chapfunga.

He said there were impending mass resignations of “some very senior people”.

“I am not at liberty to reveal who else is leaving but I can assure you that some very senior leaders are going to leave. They will reveal themselves in due course,” Chapfunga said.

 “In any political setup you need the mandate of the people and identify with the needs of the people you want to represent. You cannot have a party of interim structure for four years. There is lack of direction. Imagine you are in an army about to go to battle and the commander tells you to find your own guns and bullets but fight for the party. You do not disarm before a battle,” he said.

Another former Cabinet minister and politburo member who supported Makoni at Mavambo’s inception Dumiso Dabengwa has previously revealed that the project was set up to protect Mugabe from outright electoral defeat.

He told a local newspaper that senior Zanu PF officials worked with Makoni to avoid an electoral win by Tsvangirai by splitting votes and forcing a coalition government.

Dabengwa said Mavambo had achieved this goal, given that Mugabe is still in power after Tsvangirai failed to garner an outright first round victory in 2008.

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