MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly gagged both party national vice-chairman Morgen Komichi and party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora from speaking to the media about the ongoing discussions on the party’s proposed amendments to the constitution to be tabled at the October congress.
The gag order was reportedly issued on Tuesday during a tense meeting at the party headquarters following leaks of sensitive party information, especially on the proposed constitutional amendments.
“The president [Tsvangirai] called both Mwonzora and Komichi to an emergency meeting where they were told to stop commenting on the internal discussions on the proposed amendments,” a party source said.
The contentious amendments, among other things, include giving the party leader executive powers to appoint standing
committee members. The changes also seek to reduce powers of the secretary-general’s office and create the position of second vice-president.
But Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka denied the claims, saying the constitutional review programme was an ongoing process and there was no way his boss would bar top officials from making public statements about the issue.
“No such gag order has been made. I suspect this misinformation is being peddled by people who want to portray Tsvangirai as a dictator,” he said.
The changes have been roundly rejected by the MDC-T provincial structures during public consultations led by Komichi.
The amendments, the sources said, were being pushed by Tsvangirai’s ally, Komichi, who is believed to harbour ambitions of landing the MDC-T second vice-presidency.
On the other hand, the curtailing of powers of the secretary-general’s post was seen as a sinister move to block the likes of organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and Mwonzora, who were both reportedly gunning for the position.
The party, insiders said, had proposed to neutralise the secretary-general’s post to ensure the incumbent does not wield executive powers as that often led to conflicts with the president’s office.
Two former MDC-T secretaries-general Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti have used the post as a springboard to form their own breakaway parties.