FORMER Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has summoned party district chairpersons from across the country to discuss various issues, including leadership renewal.
Determined to crush dissent within the main opposition political party, Tsvangirai has reportedly summoned some 210 party leaders at the grassroots level to attend a “no-holds-barred” indaba in Harare on Saturday. The meeting is expected to endorse him as the party-preferred candidate for the 2018 presidential election.
The meeting comes amid calls from some sections of the party for Tsvangirai to step down from the party leadership to pave way for renewal of the MDC-T following his drubbing by Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe in the July 31 polls.
MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa confirmed the Saturday meeting and rally on Sunday in Harare.
“All party leaders from the districts will meet the president (Tsvangirai) on Saturday before a rally on Sunday,” Chamisa said.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said: “There are two events at the weekend beginning with 210 district chairpersons for an interactive session on the state of country, state of party and way forward.”
It is understood that the meeting has been called to decide the fate of party deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma, who is accused to plotting to oust Tsvangirai after a damning report urging the ex-Premier to relinquish the party leadership in favour of MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe.
Some party sources, however, told NewsDay that Tsvangirai’s meeting with grassroots leaders was a ploy to seek their endorsement ahead of the 2016 elective congress and purge dissenting voices.
Mangoma torched a storm when he led calls for Tsvangirai to step down citing, among other issues, failure to unseat Mugabe in three elections and abuse of party funds.
Tsvangirai is reportedly banking on grassroots support to maintain relevance and power and remain at the helm of the MDC-T at a time calls for his departure at Harvest House were getting louder.
Some leaders in the MDC-T are reportedly pushing for an early congress to choose the party’s new leadership and Tsvangirai was likely to be challenged this time.