Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai suspended by MDC

Movement for Democratic Change suspends former PM over "fascist tendencies", deepening divisions in opposition ranks.

Last updated: 26 Apr 2014 23:33
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Tsvangirai has led the opposition Movement for Democratic Change since its formation in 1999 [EPA]

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Zimbabwe's main opposition movement, has been suspended along with other senior party officials for "fascist" tendencies and failing to oust President Robert Mugabe, a faction of the opposition announced.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Saturday that it suspended the former prime minister, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, chairperson Lovemore Moyo and four other senior party officials, deepening divisions in the opposition ranks.

The group led by Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the MDC, accused Tsvangirai and his lieutenants of resisting a leadership change after losing a third general election to Mugabe last July and of using violence against internal challengers.

"The MDC as we know it has abandoned its original founding values and principles," it said in a statement. "The party has been hijacked by a dangerous fascist clique bent on destroying the same and totally working against the working people of Zimbabwe."

The group also said Tsvangirai had violated the MDC's constitution by expelling deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma, after he suggested Tsvangirai should step down as leader of the party following last year's election defeat to veteran ruler, 90-year-old Robert Mugabe.

The party's treasurer Roy Bennett, who is exiled in South Africa, and other officials have also made similar calls for Tsvangirai to resign after losing to Mugabe in the July 31 general elections, igniting tensions within the group.

Tsvangirai's faction, however, immediately dismissed the move as unconstitutional and meaningless.

"The MDC leadership cannot be changed by a bunch of desperate power-hungry officials, a minority that cannot win a leadership contest at party congress," national party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told reporters, calling the suspension a legal nullity.

"That meeting is a culmination of a sustained covert programme involving state security, Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and a few malcontents to destabilise the MDC," he said.

The MDC, formed in 1999 by an alliance of trade unions and civic groups, has been seen as the most credible challenger to Mugabe's grip on power. The 62-year-old Tsvangirai has led the MDC since its formation.

But it has been riven by tensions since Tsvangirai was beaten at the polls last year.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
join our mailing list