THE MDC-T national executive committee (NEC) yesterday resolved to gag its members from discussing leadership renewal and party succession issues in the media following a recent storm caused by some senior members who openly challenged former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to step down as party leader.
Yesterday’s tense NEC meeting was held against the background of a leaked controversial letter written by MDC-T deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma calling on Tsvangirai to immediately step down to allow the party to renew itself.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the gag order.
“Discussion of leadership renewal in the Press is an unacceptable and a disciplinary matter for the rank and file of members,” Mwonzora said.
He added: “It’s not allowed to comment in the media on the internal life of the party because we want to have the correct feedback especially about leadership renewal. Public discussion allows non-members to comment, thus distorting the message from our membership.”
Some senior MDC-T members including self-exiled treasurer-general Roy Bennett, Elias Mudzuri (national executive member), Ian Kay (former Marondera Central MP) and Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross started the chorus soon after the party dismally lost the July 31, 2013 polls to Zanu PF.
The crushing defeat is the party’s worst electoral loss under Tsvangirai since its formation in 1999. Mwonzora said NEC resolved that the party should focus its energy on the four R’s going forward.
“The 4R’s mean: Regroup, Restrategise, Restructure and Reposition for future elections. The party should now refocus on rebuilding and strengthening itself from the grassroots to NEC,” he said.
Mwonzora, however, downplayed reports that some agitated MDC-T youths had gathered at the party headquarters baying for Mangoma’s blood soon after the meeting.
“No one wanted to manhandle Mangoma, but they were simply registering their displeasure in the manner the subject has been handled,” he said.