Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has once again been chosen to lead the MDC-T in its sustained efforts to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power and pave way for what the party says would be democratic change.
All the party’s 12 provinces have endorsed the former trade unionist as their preferred choice in a development that will see Tsvangirai retain supremacy for 11 consecutive years.
His nomination took place as the party heads for its third national congress to be held in Bulawayo this week amid reports of internecine fights as cadres jockey for positions.
The MDC-T’s national congress will be held under the theme: United, Winning – The People’s Covenant to Real Change and will be officially opened by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Friday.
“President Morgan Tsvangirai has been re-elected (nominated) as the MDC-T president by all the provinces ahead of the party’s Third National Congress to be held in Bulawayo next week,” read an MDC-T statement. “The party would be announcing the final list of the nominees on Tuesday (today) after their confirmation on whether they want to contest or not.”
Information and publicity secretary for Harare province Obert Gutu, who is also the Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, said Tsvangirai was a unanimous choice to lead the MDC-T to victory against “Zanu PF tyranny”.
“Morgan Tsvangirai is the undisputed face of the democratic struggle against Zanu PF tyranny since the formation of the MDC. His humility and grassroots approach to politics has endeared him to millions of Zimbabweans both within the country and in the Diaspora,” said Gutu.
He said the unanimous nomination of Tsvangirai by all MDC-T provinces was a clear and unambiguous seal of approval, which showed confidence and total trust in his leadership.
Those jockeying for positions resulting in serious in-house fighting include national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri, spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, secretary-general Tendai Biti, vice-president Thokozane Khupe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo, Tsvangirai’s advisor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, women’s league boss Theresa Makone and Lucia Matibenga, to mention but a few.
Observers have recently warned the MDC-T was slowly assuming Zanu PF traits through the growing culture of violence and its disregard of the ideals that made it a popular party with ordinary workers in Zimbabwe.
The observers warned if MDC-T did not quickly deal with such issues, they would be considered a party that was merely fighting for power and not necessarily for the betterment of the lives of Zimbabweans, who for 31 years have been ruled by Zanu PF.
On Saturday, the MDC-T witnessed violent scenes in Bulawayo, where its members clashed for positions of power within the party.
Tsvangirai Monday headed for the city in a huff in an attempt to quash the infighting in his party, and party spokesperson Chamisa said Tsvangirai travelled there to “put a full stop to the nonsense and unnecessary shenanigans”.
As the infighting and factionalism continues within the MDC-T, civic groups like the National Constitutional Assembly and the Media Institute of Southern Africa recently blasted the media and the MDC-T for downplaying the violence during the provincial elections.
Despite criticism, the endorsement of PM Tsvangirai has been welcomed by top politicians in his party who say he is the best candidate to see the party romping to victory in the envisaged presidential elections.
Tsvangirai’s political history dates back to 1980 at independence when at 28 years he joined the then popular Zanu PF led by President Robert Mugabe, who is now his biggest political rival.
In 1989, he became secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and eventually led the ZCTU away from the ruling Zanu PF, which then led to the formation of the MDC in 1999.
He became the MDC candidate in the 2002 presidential elections and after the split of the MDC, in 2008 he led the MDC-T as presidential candidate and won 47,8% of the vote in a violence-ridden election that saw many members of his party killed by suspected Zanu PF supporters and alleged state agents.