THE fall-out between MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and party paymasters Elton Mangoma and Roy Bennett stems from the alleged abuse of party funds by the ex-Prime Minister, senior party officials have said.
The officials told NewsDay that the ongoing furore was not necessarily centred on leadership renewal calls, but the way party funds had been handled.
As a result of lack of accountability in the party finances, the insiders said donors had withdrawn financial support to the main opposition MDC-T.
In his letter to Tsvangirai, which has raised a storm within the MDC-T, Mangoma expressed concern over the alleged misuse of party funds and questioned how he planned to clear his name if donors asked him to explain himself out.
“How will we put closure to the question of misuse of funds, and ensure that our friends regain confidence that donations will be channelled to the people’s project going forward?” Mangoma queried.
“How will you answer the questions that we failed to care enough for our people and that we used our time in government for personal aggrandisement, personal wealth accumulation as symbolised by the current impasse on (Tsvangirai’s) Highlands residence?”
In separate interviews with senior MDC-T members — a provincial chairman and executive member — it emerged that those opposed to Tsvangirai were gaining ground in convincing the grassroots that the party required leadership renewal.
“The fallout between Tsvangirai, Mangoma and Bennett is all about abuse of funds by the president. Why is he not speaking out on where he got the $300 000 he used to silence Lorcadia (ex-wife Karimatsenga-Tembo) and why is he gagging people from discussing pertinent party issues?” the sources asked.
“Donors are no longer giving money to the party because there is no accountability. Bennett had to deploy one of his workers to Harvest House to do the finances and was working under the organising secretary’s department to curb the leakages of party finances. Worse still, the donors are not giving money to the party before there is a way to account for it.”
A national executive member added: “My province is clear on what we now need. We need a leader with a clear vision, a new face with fresh ideas because honestly. Tsvangirai has nothing new to offer. People no longer have confidence in him.”
Insiders at Harvest House said Tsvangirai was under fire amid growing calls to hold an elective congress earlier than when due in 2016 to address the leadership crisis.
The sources added the party was concerned with Tsvangirai’s leadership qualities and believed keeping him at the helm of the party was costly.
But Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said: “The National Executive has taken a position on Mangoma. The president is concerned about national issues.”
Tsvangirai last week tightened his grip on party finances after he was appointed the chief signatory and appointed a committee to handle fundraising matters of the party, thereby sidelining Mangoma and Bennett. This is not the first time Tsvangirai and Mangoma have clashed.
Last year, the MDC-T leader was left grounded after the party refused to fund his proposed countrywide tours following his third electoral defeat by Zanu PF’s President Robert Mugabe.