THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T yesterday suffered a double blow after the Manicaland provincial youth executive left en-masse to join the rival faction fronted by "axed" secretary-general Tendai Biti.
The defections coincided with the resignation of MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo who stepped down citing violence and infighting in the main opposition party.
But MDC-T national spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora described the defections as "mere publicity stunts".
"We are not worried at all by their departure because they went away as far back as January and today's announcement is simply a publicity stunt," Mwonzora said.
Moyo, who denied links with the Biti faction, said he would remain an ordinary MDC-T member and Makokoba MP.
Sometime in March this year, Moyo took a sabbatical ostensibly to concentrate on his studies at a time the opposition party was experiencing internal turmoil.
At the time, the party's senior officials were bickering over an ongoing purge of those suspected to be in favour of Biti's leadership renewal.
Yesterday, Moyo told journalists that: "Our party has been characterised by violence for the past three months. We are fighting friends, not foes. I believe this province needs a different type of leadership, not I."
Moyo said the MDC-T leadership, including him, had failed to deal with the results of the 2013 elections.
Last week, another party stalwart in Manicaland and provincial treasurer Brian James also resigned from the MDC-T and hinted that he could be joining the Biti camp.
In Manicaland, provincial youth chairman Dennis Simango said the youths in the province had made a "painful, but necessary" decision to dump Tsvangirai because he had become undemocratic.
"It is common knowledge that the party has failed to come up with a clear roadmap to prepare for the 2018 elections and we have seen a lot of constitutional breaches by Tsvangirai," Simango said.
"The decision to leave his camp has been painful to us, but we want to set the record straight that as youths of Manicaland, we have decided to separate ourselves from Morgan Tsvangirai. It should not be a secret that we are going the renewal way."
Simango said the youth executive was also angered by Tsvangirai's move during last year's elections to field Simba Makoni of MKD instead of Patrick Sagandira who had won the primary elections in Makoni Central.
Of the entire executive, only the secretary Lloyd Mahute and the information secretary Dorcas Manzinde were still in the Tsvangirai camp.
Present at the Press conference were Maxwell Mudluri who deputised Simango, Naome Baison (deputy secretary), Amen Bungu (organising secretary) and Cloud Nengomasha (deputy organising secretary).
Also present were national representatives Muriel Rumhungwe and Laston Julius together with former provincial spokesperson Pishayi Muchauraya.
The youths said they would hand over the party regalia back to the provincial secretary Misheck Kagurabadza.
Muchauraya, who is acting in the capacity of organising secretary in the renewal camp, said the party office was property of the Biti camp.