- Published on 19 July 2014
- Written by Newsday
MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai has promised to quit if he is defeated at the party's elective congress set for October in Harare.
Sources in the party said while addressing the Midlands North provincial executive during a closed door meeting on Thursday, Tsvangirai said he would not hang onto power if he lost his position at congress.
"He was clear that he will respect the wishes of the people. If he lost at congress, he would congratulate the winner and work as a member of the party to ensure that the MDC-T wins the next elections," a source who attended the meeting said.
Tsvangirai's position is up for grabs at congress and he was likely to be challenged by former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri for leadership of the country's biggest opposition party.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that Tsvangirai would indeed vacate his seat if he lost at congress.
"Yes, he will [go]. He will abide by the wishes of the people. What president Tsvangirai said and indeed the message repeated by the majority of those in the standing committee is that leaders are put or removed by congress not by boardroom arraignments or letters as [Elton] Mangoma and company tried to do. That is undemocratic, but through a democratic process, yes, the outcome of congress will be accepted," Mwonzora said.
According to the sources, Tsvangirai also said the party should look at reducing the powers of the secretary-general to ensure that the position does not continue to hold command.
Mwonzora said the congress would amend the constitution especially with regard to the powers of the secretary-general.
"He [Tsvangirai] said the MDC must be strengthened structurally. As a change agent, we have had two splits coming from the position of the secretary-general and there is need to streamline and make the position very clear regarding the powers, the limits and so on without compromising the fundamental principles of checks and balances," he said.
Tsvangirai's spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said Mugabe lacked moral integrity as he "flirted" with his secretary and now First Lady Grace nee Marufu at a time his wife, Sally, was on her deathbed.
He said the country had more serious issues like the ever plunging economy than to introspect on Tsvangirai's personal life.
Tamborinyoka was responding to Mugabe's sarcastic attack on Tsvangirai that he felt sorry for Tsvangirai over his exploits with women.
Mugabe was counselling men on moral rectitude at the burial of Major-General Eliah Bandama at the National Heroes Acre on Thursday.
But Tamborinyoka said Mugabe was throwing stones while living in a glass house.
"A nation reeling under a serious economic crisis today woke to the shocking realisation that Mugabe is more worried about Tsvangirai than an economy plodding towards an implosion. Zimbabweans are facing a serious national crisis and the least they expect is unnecessary and needless diversions from key issues affecting them," he said.
Tamborinyoka said there was no need for Mugabe to refer to Tsvangirai's sexcapades because the former trade unionist had already apologised to everyone who had been "inconvenienced" by his behaviour "during his search for a woman to marry after the death of his wife of 31 years".