KWEKWE — Thousands of supporters stormed an MDC-T closed meeting of provincial leaders that was being addressed by party leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Torwood, Kwekwe, yesterday.
Report by Blessed Mhlanga Staff Reporter
Tsvangirai ended up turning the meeting into an impromptu rally. He lashed out at corrupt councillors, accusing them of soiling his party’s image through unbridled accumulation of wealth.
The MDC-T leader admitted that several of his councillors had undergone the proverbial rags-to-riches transformation following elections in 2008.
“We have a lot of councillors countrywide and some of these have been so corrupt that they have spoiled the good image of MDC. They have been stealing from the people as if they were possessed by demons yet these people are the face of the party who are close to the electorate,” said Tsvangirai.
“In Harare, there are some councillors who came into council with nothing, but slip-ons, but now they have several cars and lots of property . . . ah! Where did you get all those things from? You are busy stealing,” he said.
Tsvangirai later told the Midlands North provincial leadership in Mkoba, Gweru, that he would step down from the helm of the party if he were to lose the make-or-break 2013 elections to President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF.
He said even though he was confident of winning the elections, “as a democrat and progressive politician” he would step down and pass the baton to someone new to lead the MDC-T in the event of a loss.
“We don’t want to build parties that have no future and that will die with me. If I lose the next election I will step down and pass the baton. That is democracy and continuity,” he said.
Addressing the Kwekwe rally earlier, Tsvangirai said his party would soon introduce stringent selection criterion to weed out uncouth elements wishing to contest in elections for self-aggrandisement.
“In the next elections, we are going to deal decisively with this because we are going to try and select the best candidates. We will get people who have managed to achieve something for themselves because if we take people who have failed in their own personal lives, they will get into office and only use the opportunity to loot resources. That will not be allowed,” he said.
Tsvangirai said with the office of the executive mayor set to be reintroduced after adoption of the new constitution, the MDC-T planned to set delivery benchmarks for incumbents, especially those from his party.
“We will give executive mayors benchmarks which they will have to deliver within a given timeframe and if they fail to deliver, we will chuck them out of office. By that time I will be President of Zimbabwe and will not wait for the next election to fire you,” he said amid cheers.
Tsvangirai accused top party officials of making what he termed “reckless statements” alleging he had imposed Parliamentary candidates on the electorate and shielded sitting MPs from being contested against.
“MDC has a team which was elected at congress by you the people and I am happy to lead that team, but it is being destroyed by some of you who are peddling conspiracy theories within the party structures, the same thing which caused a split.
“You make statements to the media saying Tsvangirai has betrayed us. He is imposing candidates. These false statements are causing discord in the party and undermining the credibility and integrity of the party. Potential voters will then say, ‘why should I trust this bunch of useless people with my vote?’
“Some people are going around buying provincial chairpersons and then think they now control the party. What they don’t know is that chairpersons are not the party. It is the branches that form MDC,” he said.
Tsvangirai is on a two-day nationwide tour which will take him to Gwanda and Lupane to meet wrangling provincial leaderships following an outcry over alleged selection criterion seen as protecting sitting MPs.