Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
MDC-T has suspended former Marondera Central legislator Mr Ian Kay as the party crosses swords with members calling for the ouster of party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in the wake of his third successive defeat to President Mugabe since the turn of the millennium.
Mr Kay recently likened the embattled MDC-T leader to a rusty bolt in need of replacement, joining a growing chorus by other high-ranking members among them Mr Roy Bennett, Eddie Cross and white former commercial farmer Ben Freeth who have also called for Mr Tsvangirai’s head.
The self-exiled Bennett has since rebuffed summons to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee. The Mashonaland East provincial executive met at the party headquarters, Harvest House, in Harare on Monday, where the resolution was made.
“Yes, they suspended me but I haven’t received the letter,” Mr Kay said yesterday. “They suspended me for talking to people like you (media). I am waiting for the letter then I will hear from the top on the way forward.”
Insiders who attended the meeting said provincial chairperson Mr Piniel Denga, chaired the meeting. Mr Denga declined to comment yesterday.
Mr Kay was quoted in some sections of the media saying it was time for Mr Tsvangirai to step down in the wake of his successive defeats since 2002.
“This is like a soccer team. If the coach continues losing, there is a need for the technical board to sit down and deal with the issue.
There is a need to plan ahead before the ship sinks and if there is need to change the coach, then let it be,” Mr Kay was quoted as saying.
Sources who spoke to The Herald yesterday said the decision to suspend Mr Kay was taken a long time ago.
“But the provincial executive wanted to do the right thing. That is why it has taken this long. There was a lot of confusion soon after the elections. So there was a need for the dust to settle down first.
“He (Kay) attended the provincial executive meeting (on Monday) where the decision to suspend him was announced. He claimed that he called for leadership renewal without mentioning names. That was his argument. But the executive was adamant that his inference targeted the (party) president (Mr Tsvangirai).
“After announcement of the decision, he was asked to leave and he obliged. He has 14 days to appeal before a final decision is made,” said the source.
Mr Kay is not the only one calling for the ouster of Mr Tsvangirai as party financiers and former Rhodesian elements have made noises on the same front.
MDC-T treasurer general, Mr Roy Bennett, party MP for Bulawayo South, Mr Eddie Cross and former commercial farmer, Mr Ben Freeth agreed that Mr Tsvangirai must step down to reinvigorate the formation.
“Mr Tsvangirai has served two terms and is nearly completing a third. Deep introspection needs to be undertaken by our national collective leadership, not for purposes of looking for scapegoats, but for our party to reinvigorate its leadership with a leadership which reflects the will of our people,” Mr Bennett said.
He claimed to have resigned from the MDC-T though the party claimed he was yet to officially communicate his status. On the other hand, Mr Cross was quoted saying; “We left Parliament two months ago – then holding a majority in the Lower House. We have come back as the opposition with 72 seats in a House of 270 members.
“Unable to block legislation if we want to but providing a voice for the majority in this beautiful but broken land. After 13 years of struggle, five elections and four years Government of National Unity, we are no further forward than we were in 2010, in fact we are further back than we were then,” said Mr Cross.
Mr Freeth said Mr Tsvangirai failed to stand the test following his defeat by President Mugabe who polled a massive 61,09 percent compared to his 33,94 percent in the Presidential race.
“If the former Prime Minister is tired — which he is certainly entitled to given all that he has endured at the hands of Zanu-PF — let him stand down and let someone who is energetic, God-fearing and not prepared to compromise on principle, take his place.
“I distinctly remember Tsvangirai being reported as saying that if he lost the election he would stand down. So why the change of mind?
After six bites at the election cherry (2000, 2002, 2005, March 2008, June 2008 and 2013) he has surely had his chance!,” Mr Freeth wrote for the South African blog, politicsweb.
MDC-T national chairperson, Mr Lovemore Moyo was recently quoted in some sections of the media saying they would summon Mr Bennett to appear before the disciplinary committee to clarify on his comments.
Confusion has marred the party since its defeat at the hands of Zanu-PF in the July 31 harmonised elections as witch-hunting and counter-accusations have become order of the day.