ONE of the four candidates contesting the MDC-T presidency, Elias Mudzuri, has raised a red flag over preparations to hold the extraordinary congress (EOC), saying the party did not have enough money to fund it after US$60 000 went missing.
The congress is supposed to elect a successor to the late party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, but there was no agreement on the voters roll to be used or the venue, two days before it is held.
Later in the evening, however, government gave permission for the party to hold the congress at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
Mudzuri said the party had no money to hold the congress after it failed to account for US$60 000 which was advanced to the party by government under the Political Parties Finance Act. It postponed the congress to Sunday from last weekend following disagreements over the voters’ roll.
Provincial structures started verifying the voters roll on Wednesday and Mudzuri said by evening yesterday, they had not finalised, raising fears that the process might not be completed since today and tomorrow are public holidays.
In a circular to delegates, Mudzuri said the problems had been compounded by confusing messages regarding the venue.
“It is quite disturbing to note that the EOC has been thrown into confusion by a cocktail of mis-endeavours or unfortunate circumstances,” Mudzuri fumed.
“There are confusing messages on the venue or venues for the congress.
“As things stand, there is no money for congress as the US$60 000 meant for the party was fraudulently moved from the party’s account without the express approval of the treasurer and the standing committee.
“The voters roll had not been finalised up to 17:30hours today (yesterday),” he said.
Mudzuri said he was trying to ensure that there was a free, fair and transparent congress in line with the tenets of democracy.
“I would like to urge all eligible delegates wishing to see the survival of this great movement we started in 1999 to achieve all its set objectives to sacrifice and ensure that they come out to cast their votes on December 27 whatever venue is finally agreed upon.
“We should never accept corrupt and abusive behaviour that we have blamed Zanu PF for over the years. All the missing money must be recovered and accounted for without delay,” he added.
Polls were postponed last weekend after interim party leader Thokozani Khupe’s backers raised concern over alleged attempts by secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora to manipulate the roll.
But Mudzuri said the party was clear that only members of the 2014 structures would vote.
Another candidate, Morgen Komichi said the congress would be held at HICC, contrary to claims by some party members on social media that it would be decentralised.
“The EOC is on, and it will be held at a single venue at the HICC. The persons that will attend are those from the 2014 structures as they are the legitimate delegates to vote,” Komichi said.
“That has been abandoned because decentralised elections are prone to violence and they are very difficult to manage. What we want is to have the whole leadership to be there at the same venue and in the event of any problem, it can be addressed quickly,” he said.
Komichi cited the shambolic voters roll as the cause of the postponement of the congress that was set for December 19.
“We need to be careful this time around that this will not affect us anymore and so we want the leadership there. While we are candidates, we also have the responsibility as leaders to make sure that the party ensures a peaceful process,” he said.
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance issued a statement yesterday saying its members that were in the 2014 party structures should not attend the congress, adding that it was a Zanu PF charade.
“All genuine MDC supporters that were in the MDC-T structures when our late president Morgan Tsvangirai passed on are advised to stay away from this Zanu PF charade at the HICC. For the record, Tsvangirai was constitutionally replaced by president Nelson Chamisa and before he passed on, he left president Chamisa in charge of MDC Alliance.
“Zanu PF has now booked this outfit at the HICC and has even provided it with the Zimbabwe Republic Police ‘to maintain law and order’, but in reality they are there to ensure that their project of running an opposition party in Zimbabwe succeeds,” MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende said.
He alleged that there were over 50 opposition parties in the country that were created by State agents and were being controlled by the military intelligence.
“The MDC Alliance remains one of the few opposition parties genuinely fighting for a people’s government. We must not waste time with sideshows, but remain focused on our goal of achieving a truly democratic developmental State in Zimbabwe. 2021 is the year of people’s action using our constitutionally guaranteed rights. We must organise ourselves and fight for a Zimbabwe that we want,” Hwende said.