MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday chaired a stormy shadow cabinet meeting where he reportedly chastised his 91 MPs for demanding luxurious perks from an ailing economy.
The meeting took place in the shadow of a leaked MDC-T party caucus letter where the legislators were demanding Land Rover Discoveries and Jeep Cherokees; and a steep upward review of their sitting allowances from the current $75 to $200.
The rebuke further exposed the growing fissures within the MDC-T’s top brass which reached fever pitch last week amid leadership renewal calls.
Tsvangirai, in a swipe, told the shadow cabinet that: “Despite their sorry predicament, the MDC believes that the MDC MPs cannot be demanding that MPs who stay in Harare be provided with accommodation, among other perks such as top-notch Land Rover Discovery vehicles and a three-fold increment in their allowances.”
He further admonished his MPs and said they should not behave like Zanu PF officials who enjoyed plundering national resources and “feeding on the carcass of the ailing economy”.
“The MDC is a party of ordinary Zimbabweans who want parliamentary representatives with a dignified status, but who do not make demands that give the impression that we have joined the bandwagon of those from Zanu PF who are in the news every day for plunder and personal aggrandisement at the expense of the welfare of the ordinary citizen,” the shadow cabinet said in a statement.
The shadow ministers, sources said, argued that the party caucus leadership acted unilaterally in drawing up the demands and this put into doubt their loyalty to Tsvangirai.
The party caucus was chaired by MDC-T leader in Parliament Thokozani Khupe and chief whip Innocent Gonese.
The MDC-T leadership has been under fire for seeking personal wealth once they joined the 2009 coalition government and forgot to fight for democratic reforms, eradication of corruption and improvement of the citizens’ lives.
All but five members of the shadow cabinet are in Parliament. The five are Jameson Timba, Theresa Makone, Douglas Mwonzora, Tongai Matutu and Elton Mangoma.
Notable shadow cabinet members who sit in Parliament include Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti, Tapiwa Mashakada, Jessie Majome, Elias Mudzuri, Morgan Komichi, Gordon Moyo, Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo, Gift Chimanikire, Lucia Matibenga and Joel Gabbuza Gabbuza.