Renewal projects, UMDC collapses

THE United Movement for Democratic Change (UMDC) — which was touted to be the springboard for a grand coalition of opposition parties — has reportedly collapsed amid reports of fierce fights among its leaders.

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BY OBEY MANAYITI/TATENDA CHITAGU

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renewal

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UMDC was formed early this year by the MDC and MDC Renewal Team – both breakaway factions from the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T — to spearhead a campaign to unseat the Zanu PF regime.

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Party officials said fierce fights erupted last month after some of the leaders started decampaigning their colleagues ahead of a congress to elect a substantive leadership for the fledgling party.

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“We feel that the UMDC was started in good faith, but it was met with some problems and practically we can say UMDC is now dead,” an insider, who declined to be named, said.

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“We felt there was a group of people within the MDC Renewal Team who had secretly connived with another clique in the MDC led by Welshman Ncube to grab power without sticking to the roadmap we agreed on at Old Hararians.”
\nHe added: “Some of us felt sidelined and for some time we adopted a wait-and-see attitude. The concept of putting all democratic forces together to fight Zanu PF is not a bad idea at all, but we are against the power grab that had been arranged behind our backs.”

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The source said the project came to a standstill following the expulsion of 21 Renewal Team MPs from Parliament last week with its interim secretary-general Tendai Biti indicating that he was no longer interested in party politics.

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Another UMDC official added: “Now, we don’t have a common understanding among ourselves. Others are saying let’s drop the UMDC because of the problems in the MDC while others are saying we should stick to the roadmap.”
\nHowever, UMDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume dismissed the reports, saying the project was still intact.

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“As far as it stands, the agreement is as agreed in the roadmap. There has not been any variations formally or informally,” Mafume said.

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“We are actually looking at a bigger coalition with more parties and UMDC was just a starting point. There are no serious problems. There might be issues of clarification, which issues have platforms to be addressed on in the agreement.”

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Yesterday, MDC-T members in Masvingo petitioned their provincial leaders demanding the recall of two councillors who crossed the floor to the MDC Renewal Team.

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MDC-T Masvingo district secretary Robert Murambatsvina confirmed the development yesterday.

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Although he refused to divulge the names of the those targeted, sources said those in the firing line were Godfrey Kurauone (ward four) and Daniel Mberikunashe (ward five).

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The two have, however, maintained their loyalty to the mainstream MDC-T party.

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“We have written to the party leadership seeking to recall some councillors who won on our party ticket but have since crossed the floor to join the Biti and Sekai Holland-led MDC Renewal Team. We are just waiting for a nod from the party headquarters as we feel they should face the same fate as that of the 21 legislators and Senators recalled from Parliament last week,” he said.

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Murambatsvina said if given the go-ahead, the recall would cascade down to rebel councillors at rural district councils in the eight districts around Masvingo province.

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MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora could not be reached for comment although he is on record saying the party would not rush to recall rebel councillors after Biti and company were expelled from Parliament. – NewsDay