MDC-T set to change party constitution

The Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is seeking to make changes to its constitution, ahead of the next election in Zimbabwe.

Informed sources said on Thursday there is general consensus within the top leadership that the party needed ‘serious’ revamping.

\r\n

A legal committee in the party has been working on the proposals which will be tabled before a national council meeting, before the Bulawayo congress. The congress will be held from 29th to 30th April.

\r\n

‘The MDC is teetering on the brink of winning an election through the ballot box and has thus decided to have a full time director of elections who will be a member of the standing committee. There will also be an additional seven portfolio secretaries who will shadow ministries that are not directly under the MDC in the inclusive government. These positions are for technocrats who will be the engine room of the party,’ the source said.

\r\n

A new position of deputy party spokesperson is to be created and the office bearer, to be elected at the congress, will also sit in the expanded standing committee. The standing committee is the highest decision making body of the party.

\r\n

Additionally, anyone elected into office, from the standing committee right down to district executives, will only be allowed to serve two five year terms.

\r\n

The legal team has floated a proposal to keep intact a clause allowing the party President to seek re-election at every congress. A senior MDC insider told us this clause was introduced at the time of writing a new constitution, just after the split MDC split in two.

\r\n

‘People were emotional and looked at personalities rather than principles. It was then agreed under that environment, that to put limited terms would be to victimize the already victimized Tsvangirai. But I remember him personally saying be mindful of creating a monster after people had actually suggested that he be made life president.

\r\n

‘The idea for now is to let Tsvangirai challenge Robert Mugabe in a presidential election and make changes once he’s in office because he’ll only be allowed to serve two five year terms as Head of State,’ our source said.

\r\n

Political analyst Mutsa Murenje told us another school of thought was that deputy party leader Thokozani Khupe and Secretary General Tendai Biti needed more grooming. This would enable them and others to get to Tsvangirai’s level of national leadership, before the party thinks of making changes to the top.

\r\n

With an amended constitution in place the MDC is also expected to overhaul the way it makes policy, with reforms expected to be announced at the end of the congress in the hope to reverse a steady fall in membership.

\r\n

Following ZANU PF’s terror campaign in 2008, that saw the army and police implement a strategy of killing, torturing and creating an atmosphere of fear, many MDC supporters went underground. Many Zimbabweans are still scared to be openly associated with the MDC for fear of reprisals from war vets and ZANU PF militia.

\r\n

Some in the party want to give district and provincial structures greater influence over how policy is drafted and put them at the forefront of an aggressive recruitment drive to target community groups, young voters, and students.

\r\n

It is believed these new positions will help bring in several young and new faces into active roles in the party. This comes as the MDC is set to roll out a new campaign to present a compelling, fresh vision for Zimbabwe and a renewal of the party’s purpose.

\r\n

Murenje said many Zimbabweans believe ZANU PF is vulnerable and lacking in new ideas and credibility.

\r\n

‘It is for this reason that the MDC has decided to radically overhaul its political policies, its own image, and arguably its political philosophy in order to win over the support of Zimbabweans to beat ZANU PF in an election,’ Murenje said.