tendai_biti  tsvangirai.jpg

By Panganai Nzira and Forget Tsododo


The reported power struggles between the temperamental Tendai Biti, MDC-T Secretary-General and the kitchen cabinet kingmaker, Ian Makone, has taken a new twist as the MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai announced a reshuffle of MDC-T ministers.


The move is widely viewed as part of the power dynamics in the party, ahead of the congress next year, as the race for the next president of the MDC-T goes into acceleration.


The Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Elton Mangoma will be reassigned to the energy portfolio, replacing the ambitious and power hungry Mudzuri.


Engineer Mudzuri is said to have been sacrificed for daring to lead the campaign for transparency within the party.


Indications on the ground are that MDC-T National Organizing Secretary Elias Mudzuri wants to have a go at the MDC-T presidency.


The faction is reported to have been active in Mashonaland West, were there have been accusations and counter-accusations within the leadership.


Elton Mangoma is seen as an astute businessman and has bailed the party financially on many occasions.


He is viewed as a key Tsvangirai ally and is said to be close to the powerful Makone, the two having worked together at the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), now Agribank.


Ian Makone, a permanent secretary and close adviser to Tsvangirai, is viewed as harboring intentions to land the position of secretary-general and is one of the major financiers of the party, alongside Western organizations aligned to the Westminster foundation.


The name Makone has for years been synonymous with factionalism in the MDC-T and his wife, Theresa, rose to stardom or is it ‘stirdom,’ by stirring the hornet’s nest after a bitter struggle with popular Lucia Matibenga, becoming chairperson  the MDC-T’s

Women’s Assembly in 2007 and nearly splitting the party again into two camps.


The rise of Theresa Makone saw her being appointed Minister of Public Service in the inclusive government, elbowing other deserving and competent officials, at least in the MDC sense.


In the latest twist, Tsvangirai rewarded Theresa Makone again to become the co-minister of Home Affairs, while dethroning Giles Mutsekwa, who has been redeployed to the lesser Housing and Social Amenities portfolio.


It must be noted that Giles Mutsekwa is the head of security of the party, itself a bone of contention and playground of factional fighting as the porous security organ has failed to stamp its authority on violence in the party.


The relationship between Tsvangirai and Biti also further deteriorated after violent clashes at the party headquarters in which Toendepi Shonhe, Biti’s key ally, and director general, was reportedly attacked by Tsvangirai’s militant youth supporters.


An investigation into the disturbances led to the dismissal of the youths.


A three-member team comprising Tichaona Mudzingwa, Cephas Makuyana and Edmore Marima was also set up to investigate allegations that Giles Mutsekwa is fanning factionalism in Manicaland Province.


Mutsekwa is believed to be lining up to create a power base ahead of next year’s congress.


Ian Kay is leading the chorus in Mashonald East with his slogan ‘mukombe ngauravanwe, ushe madzoro’ as he is openly campaigning for Biti to be the next point man of Washington and London paymasyters.


For doing that, Kay, the white farmer, has received the wrath of Tsvangirai sympathizers.


On June 2, 2010, Tsvangirai is reported to have called a surprise emergency meeting to discuss growing factionalism and its deteriorating political relationship in which he presented a report claiming that Biti and his faction were going around re-organizing party structures and telling donors to stop funding the party until there is a change of leadership.


The jingle has now changed to ‘chinja maitiro Morgan,’ as Tsvangirai is desperately trying to cling to power at all costs, though unwittingly using elitist consultants.


Observers wonder why Tapiwa Mashakada was not part of the ministers of the MDC-T in the inclusive government, despite his seemingly important contribution according to followers which has however been impotent to the national ethos.


Tapiwa Mashakada bounces in the corridors of power as Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, also a wider scheme to strategically position sympathizers in key positions.


Mashakada is the MDC-T deputy secretary-general.


As the drama unfolds, the hand of Ian Makone the financier and political schemer remains lingering in the air.

It thus leads many to say that the MDC-T has succeeded in only blowing the vuvuzelas of romantic ideals without delivering the practicals.


The party, despites its noisy chorus of claiming to be a beacon of democratic credentials, has manufactured political infantiles at Harvest House, who have been boosted by the so called wise counsel from the West, resulting in overgrown genetically modified politicians behaving as natural leaders, yet they are political clones hewn from the house of clowns.


As Danai Mapuranga once wrote in an article on the 28th of April, 2010, “the house that Tony Blair built is cracking at the seams and slowly sinking into the weak foundation it was built upon. They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Well, that has become the case within the MDC-T camp.’’


This reshuffle is thus a public posturing and political farce.


Only time will tell…