MDC on fire

HARARE - The MDC National Council suspended deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma for bribery, undermining elected officials, bringing the party into disrepute and fanning factionalism.

Tendai Biti, the secretary-general of the party — who reportedly did not object to Mangoma’s suspension in the National Council — immediately addressed a press conference at his Tendai Biti Law firm soon after the party meeting, saying  the suspension did not measure up to the values of the MDC.

On Thursday, Biti covertly held met Tsvangirai at his Highlands mansion, where he tried to persuade the MDC leader to rescue Mangoma.

Biti reportedly left Tsvangirai’s house claiming he was going to bring Mangoma for talks with the MDC president but he never returned and instead reportedly addressed a meeting where he was critical of the former prime minister.

Douglas Mwonzora, MDC spokesperson, told a news conference at Harvest House soon after the National Council meeting that it had been “unanimously resolved” to prefer four charges against Mangoma.

He said the MDC would immediately appoint an independent three- member tribunal to probe Mangoma, who did not attend the National Council meeting.

“This decision was unanimous and it was approved by all the 10 provinces of the MDC and all organs, including the youth assembly and women assembly,” Mwonzora told reporters.

“The first charge relates to contravening Section 21A of the disciplinary code of the MDC constitution which says: ‘a member who brings the party into disrepute is guilty of an offence.’

“In that regard, it was found that Honourable Mangoma’s actions of intentionally putting into the public domain the context of the letter addressed to the president and addressing the press and conducting interviews against a clear directive from the National Council constituted an offence”.

Mangoma wrote a damning letter to Tsvangirai, calling for his ouster last month.

Mwonzora said the second charge relates to contravening Section 21G and 21R of the MDC constitution.

“This one deals with it being an offence for a member to participate in factionalism which threatens the unity of the party or lobbying based on factionalism which goes beyond the recognised norms of canvassing,” he said. “We do not allow people to cross the lines.

“There is evidence that honourable Mangoma conducted factional meetings in Masvingo, Manicaland, Harare, Midlands and Mashonaland Central and used party funds to influence and undermine party structures. It is an offence in MDC to practice bribery and factionalism.”

The third charge relates to contravening section 210 of the party’s disciplinary code.

“This charge relates to undermining and disrespecting any organ of the party and elected officials, including protocols of the party,” Mwonzora said.

“It was found that Mangoma’s allegations in local media and international media undermined the Standing Committee, National Council and National Executive. More importantly it undermined the authority of the congress.”

The fourth charge related to undermining the party’s relationship with strategic partners.

“Mangoma is charged with contravening 541B of the constitution which states that every member has the duty to conduct himself/herself in way that is not prejudicial to the party and to adhere to the code of the conduct,” he said.

“The actions of Mangoma have seriously undermined our relationship with our strategic partners. It is further noted that his behaviour has undermined the party’s position regarding the July 31 polls.”

However, Mangoma has rejected the suspension as illegal and undemocratic.

Jacob Mafume, Mangoma’s spokesperson and lawyer, said the decision taken by the party was “undemocratic, illegal and a kangaroo decision.”

“It is a shocking decision coming from a party which says it is democratic,” Mafume said.

“The constitution is clear. When such an action is taken the National Council should vote and if two thirds is attained, the official will be suspended. There was no voting which took place either by ballot or raising hands.

“Mangoma was told not to attend the meeting and the next thing he gathers is that he has been suspended. The constitution provides for Mangoma to give his side of the story before any decision is taken. What happened today is illegal. It is a legal nullity.”

Biti also told a news conference that as a tradition, the secretary general prepares such action “but my office was not involved” and described the suspension as “null and void.”

Meanwhile, there was a heavy presence of riot police at Harvest House yesterday. By 10am, riot police dispersed a group of people who had gathered outside Harvest House waving placards.

Towards the end of the meeting, MDC youths regrouped outside the party headquarters and started singing.

Biti had to be quickly whisked away from Harvest House after the youths threatened to deal with him for opposing Tsvangirai.

Mwonzora said the party’s National Council tasked organising secretary Nelson Chamisa with investigating the violence that took place last month.

Comments (5)

This is the best decision the MDC standing Committee has made this year. Mr Mangoma made it clear he does believe that the MDC is still on the correct path if the party remains led by Mr Tsvangirai. Since the party resolved not to dismiss Mr Tsvangirai, it simply means Mr Mangoma is no longer swimming in the party's tide. It is therefore untenable for Mr Mangoma to remain in a leadership position for the party. He no longer believes in Mr Tsvangirai's leadership but the majority in his party still do. Its like keep direct opposition in leadership. Mangoma should not have waited to be suspended but should have rather stepped down himself! As for Tendai Biti its just clear that he is regretting the mistake their purported masterstroke has turned out to be. He knows he doesn't have the clout to win any position in the next election if he is not in Tsvangirai's camp. Now that its clear he is not on Tsvangirai's camp after all the years of toiling and harassment for working for the party's cause he is going to come out with nothing. It hurts!!!

murehwa - 9 March 2014

I think it is only noble for Tenadi Biti and Elton Mangoma to leave the MDC because they no longer share the ideals of this party. Why would you want to remain in a party which has refused to take aboard your ideals and you are not rescinding those ideals, go and either join ZanuPF or form your own party. It is very noble to do that but they can't form their own party now because they have messed up Zimbabweans will think they are zanupf appendages so to join zanupf is the best. The ministry of finance has no taker Chinamasa is a place holder so Biti can get comfort in that position. Go well Tendai but you have destroyed our hopes.

maita - 10 March 2014

@ Murehwa. Apa mataura hapana chekuwedzera

Bruno - 10 March 2014

Beginning of the end, watch this space....

Nyakudirwa - 10 March 2014

Ana Tsvangirai maiti democracy kungotaura chete inotoda practise hezvo uko bwa

Nyamhangambiri - 10 March 2014

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