The Breakaway MDC led by Thokozani Khupe has slammed the late Morgan Tsvangirai for the problems convulsing the opposition party saying he whimsically amended a progressive constitution to prolong his stay in power and also tighten his grip on power.
Tsvangirai, in July 2016, appointed two vice presidents – Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa – in addition to Khupe, elected by congress in 2014.
At the time, Tsvangirai argued he had the authority to do so using powers conferred by amendments to the party constitution adopted in 2014.
Tsvangirai’s death in February triggered a vicious power struggle among the three vice presidents.
The fights resulted in the MDC splitting into two -with Khupe breaking away while Chamisa, who was elected by the party’s national standing council remained at the party’s Harvest House Headquarters, now renamed Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House.
Obert Gutu, who is now the vice president of the Khupe-led MDC, said the reason why the MDC went into chaos after Tsvangirai’s death is that the former prime minister had become a “strongman.”
“If you look at the raft of amendments that we (Khupe MDC) have made, you will realise that we have done away with the so-called one centre of power because we said that in a typical democracy, if you say one centre of power, then you are killing democracy. So we are saying the president shall only serve a maximum of two, five-year terms,” Gutu said.
After the split of the original Movement for Democratic Change in 2005, the main MDC went on to become the major opposition faction.
The smaller faction is the Movement for Democratic Change led by former secretary-general Welshman Ncube.
The party logo was then changed to insert the face of Tsvangirai between the open palm symbol.
Concomitantly, the party’s constitution was also amended to create a powerful presidency, resulting in the appointment of Chamisa and Mudzuri in 2016.
At its just-ended congress held in Bulawayo last month, the Khupe MDC resolved to remove Tsvangirai’s face from its symbol and instead put that of a child.
The two MDC formations, one led by Khupe and the other by Chamisa, are currently haggling over the party’s name and symbols.
With the fight now in the courts – politically, there is little prospects of the two formations ever coming together.
Writing on micro-blogging site Twitter, Gutu said: “Anyone who thinks the MDC-T will re-unite with a group of people who are vindictive, insincere and violent might as well believe that tomorrow the sun will rise in the West and set in the East.”
And the reasons he cited could be traced to the days when Tsvangirai was given imperial powers.
“We are going back to the values of the constitution, I don’t want to go back into history that much but we should look ahead.
“If you look at South Africa, as popular as Nelson Mandela was he would not have been allowed to stand for another term so we are going to ring fence the constitution, there are young people coming up, we should give way for them.
“If you go back to the constitution of 1999, you will see that the president should only have served two terms but he didn’t,” Gutu said.