History Monday: MDC Renewal Team

MDC Renewal Team was formed in April 2014 as a splinter group from Movement for Democratic Change MDC T. It’s formation was necessitated by the promulgation of Mandel Declaration announced on 26 April 2014 at Mandel Training Center in Harare by the MDC-T National Council which dismissed Morgan Tsvangirai and other senior officials in the party’s National Standing Committee. Tendai Biti, who was expelled as the party’s Secretary General, and Elton Mangoma, who was also the party’s Treasurer, were the leaders of the MDC Renewal Team

Formation

MDC Renewal Team was formed in April 2014 by MDC T members who felt disgruntled and calling for the removal of Tsvangirai as the president and or leader of the party on the basis that he was betraying the principles of the party, adopting the Robert Mugabe’s style of monopolizing the party for his benefit. Mangoma publicly announced that MDC T was in dire need of leadership renewal and he was attacked by party supporters for his utterances. Biti and those who defected from MDC T followed suit.

On 26 April 2014, disgruntled members of MDC T National Council held a meeting at Mandel Training Center in Harare and disowned Tsvangirai as the leader of the party. This was followed by the expulsion of those who attended the meeting, providing an impetus for the creation and or formation of the Renewal Team.

When the team was launched, Biti argued that, it was just a grouping of social democrats guided by principles of pan Africanism. In spite of this however, on 25 July 2014, the team announced its National Executive Committee which was made up of 16 committees.[3] Hence the team was no longer a social grouping per se but a fully fledged political party. The party adopted orange as its main color and the party’s slogan was ‘MDC Team Renewal: The party of choice : The party of choice : MDC Renewal Team

The National Executive Committees and Appointed Leaders

  1. Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo – Interim Chairman and or president of the team-cum-party. He was replaced by Sekai Holland when she joined the party in September 2014 after defecting from MDC-T on 23 September 2014. Holland herself quit on 23 May 2015.
  2. Tendai Biti – Finance, Administration Policy and Research Functions
  3. Elton Mangoma – Informal Sector and Livelihoods
  4. Gorden Moyo – Diaspora and International Relations
  5. Jeffreyson Chitando – Recruitment and Mobilization
  6. Solomon Madzore – Organizing Committee
  7. Settlement Chikwinya – Labor and Civic Society
  8. Kerry Kay – Local Government Portfolio
  9. Shepherd Mushonga – Legal Affairs
  10. Lucia Matibenga – Social Welfare
  11. Last Maengahama – Cadership Development and Ideology
  12. Willias Madzimure- Parliamentary Affairs
  13. Luta Shaba – Constitution Implementation
  14. Tongai Matutu – Head of Elections
  15. Jacob Mafume – Spokesperson

A few months after the inception of the party’s national executive committee, it was reported that, the party was struggling to contend with a tribal storm ignited by the team’s members from Matebeleland. Those who were at the fore front of criticizing the team were Reggie Moyo and Bekithemba Nyathi who argued that the national executive committee was flawed as it deliberately shunned people from Matebeleland to be in the committee. They also highlighted that, although Nkomo was recognized and widely publicized as the interim president of the team, Mangoma and Biti were the team’s presidents. Mufema confirmed that the teams members from Matebeleland had their issue considered, dismissing that there was really a tribal war within the team. The party announced that it was to held its first congress in March 2015. It was also reported that, Mangoma and Biti were jostling for power to led the team ahead of its first congress.

The Team’s Principles

  1. Equality of opportunities
  2. Respect for the liberation struggle
  3. Democratization of Zimbabwe through peaceful and non violent means
  4. Respect of the rule of law and constitutionalism
  5. Gender equality
  6. Freedom of worship
  7. Constitutionalism
  8. Right of women to equal participation and equal in the affairs of the nation
  9. The right of freedom of worship
  10. Respect and observance of collective decision making
  11. The right to self actualization
  12. Respect of human dignity and right to life Respect for the dignity of honest hard work

Re-unification with other political parties

The team embarked on a process of uniting with other opposition political parties. In October 2014, the team signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)with the Welshman Ncube led MDC faction. On 26 November 2014, the two party’s held a reunification signing ceremony at old Harrarians Sports Club. After the signing of the MoU, there was the formation of United Movement for Democratic Change (UMDC) led by Ncube and Holland. The UMDC announced that it was going to hold its first congress in August 2015.

On 14 January 2015, Mufema, the spokesperson of MDC Renewal Team announced that the team was boycotting the by elections slated for 27 March to fill the parliamentary seats which fell vacant after the re-election of Joice Mujuru as the country’s vice president in September 2013, who was ousted in December 2014 and Emmerson Mnangagwa was appointed to replaced her.

Source:

  1. Pindula (2016) ‘ MDC-R’

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