Felex Share and Nyemudzai Kakore
THE MDC Renewal Team has formally charged MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai with 17 counts of violating the party’s constitution and has called him to appear before a disciplinary hearing.
Also summoned is MDC-T chair Mr Lovemore Moyo, who faces four counts, which include failure to conduct free and fair primary elections before last year’s harmonised polls.
According to the charge sheet, seen by The Herald, Mr Tsvangirai faces 17 counts of contravening “sections of article 2.1 of the disciplinary code of conduct and regulations” as stated in MDC-T’s constitution.
The Renewal Team accuses Mr Tsvangirai of failing to provide “competent leadership” and acting in a manner detrimental to party objectives.
Renewal Team lynchpin Mr Tendai Biti – for long Mr Tsvangirai’s secretary-general – and his lieutenants suspended the party leader and five other MDC-T officials in March 2014, accusing them of violating the constitution and using violence as a political tool.
In turn, Mr Tsvangirai immediately fired Mr Biti and others who endorsed his suspension.
Legal experts say the battle will likely spill into the courts.
MDC Renewal Team spokesperson Mr Jacob Mafume yesterday said the disciplinary hearing was imminent.
“These guys are on suspension and they are, according to the party constitution, supposed to come for a disciplinary hearing,” he said. “We have laid charges against them and they should actually prepare their defence because they are coming for that hearing.”
But MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said the Renewal Team had no power to summon Mr Tsvangirai.
“We cannot be invited to a hearing of another party. These guys have formed a party which they are simply failing to find a name for,” he said
“They have no jurisdiction to try the president (Mr Tsvangirai). It is not different from Zanu-PF inviting Morgan Tsvangirai for a disciplinary hearing. They should just concentrate on themselves not to be obsessed with Mr Tsvangirai.”
According to the charge sheet, Mr Tsvangirai unilaterally entered the inclusive Government without consulting MDC-T’s national council.
It is alleged he clandestinely started negotiations for purchase of the Highlands State House – which he still lives in even though he is no longer Prime Minister – with Government.
Mr Tsvangirai also stands accused of “unilaterally” recommending ambassadors, including his nephew Mr Hebson Makuvise.
“He received an amount of US$1,5 million from the Reserve Bank ostensibly for the purchase of his official residence which money he unlawfully channelled to his nephew Hebson Makuvise, who withdrew it from the commercial banks where it had been placed and engaged in expenditure which is unknown to the party.
“Morgan Tsvangirai sent his aides to Christon Bank to pay lobola for Locardia Karimatsenga in the month of November which is a taboo and denied having done so to the national council well knowing this to be false,” reads the charge sheet.
The Renewal Team further alleges that Mr Tsvangirai participated in the 2013 elections in disregard of an MDC-T national council resolution spelling out minimum conditions for participation.
He allegedly “practised and promoted” political intolerance when he convened a meeting of select party officials and district chairpersons and incited them to denigrate and denounce deputy treasurer-general Mr Elton Mangoma.
Mr Mangoma was later assaulted by party youths in Harare.
Mr Tsvangirai is also accused of convening a national council meeting that “unprocedurally” suspended Mr Mangoma.
According to the charge sheet, Mr Moyo “failed to ensure that the primary elections within MDC-T were held in a fair and transparent atmosphere”.
“He failed to deal effectively and timeously with allegations of vote rigging which emanated from the internal electoral process and which adversely affected the party’s prospects of victory (in the July 31 harmonised elections),” it is alleged.
“Lovemore Moyo knowing fully well that he had been suspended by the national council went on to chair a meeting of a grouping that he called the national council which then found that the secretary-general and others had expelled themselves from the party, a decision which was demonstrably ultra-vires the Movement for Democratic Change constitution.”
It goes on to say that “on the 6th of April 2014 and at Mkoba, Gweru, Lovemore Moyo unlawfully and intentionally incited public violence against members of the party by uttering the following words: ‘If you want to deal with a person who has violated the party constitution, I am giving you, as your national chairman, that right to deal with those people who are misbehaving using the structures’.”