Major setback to MDC-Renewal as Sekai Holland resigns

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MDC-Renewal has been thrown into further turmoil after interim leader Sekai Holland yesterday announced her resignation just a year after taking charge of the party which split from the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T.

Holland told The Standard in an interview that her decision to resign had been very difficult to make.

“I was appointed curator by the MDC-Renewal Team last year and do not regret having left the MDC-T. This decision though painful and difficult, had to be made and I am convinced that the young and brilliant leadership in the party is aware of the work at hand and the goals that need to be achieved,” she said.

Holland said by quitting, she was showing the way.

“By resigning, I am showing the way, that there is no need for people to stick around when the time is up. It should be a lesson to politicians to move away from the Big-Man Syndrome, that has been the genesis of most of our political and economic problems.

The kind of poisoned politics that will see a thousand candidates moving forward to try and succeed [President Robert] Mugabe once he is gone,” she said in tears.

“I feel I have done my job and the sharp brains within the party are clear on the way forward because mine was a transitional mechanism [and] that is over now.”

The MDC-T split into two factions in April last year after differences emerged in the aftermath of the party’s dismal performance in the July 2013 harmonised election.

Party deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma sparked the fire by writing a letter to Tsvangirai demanding that the veteran trade unionist resign for allegedly failing to lead the opposition movement.

Another opposition stalwart, then secretary general and former Finance minister Tendai Biti joined the chorus. The faction convened a national council meeting that thrust Holland, the chairperson of the party ’s Guardian Council, into the hot seat as “curator”.

In the ensuing melee Mangoma was assaulted by rogue MDC-T activists resulting in suspensions and counter suspensions being announced by the two factions. In March, Tsvangirai invoked a constitutional clause that outlaws floor-crossing resulting in Biti and 20 other lawmakers being thrown out of parliament before he announced he was boycotting the subsequent by-elections.

Holland thanked Tsvangirai “for inviting me into the MDC and I hope I served well as secretary for international relations”.

“I think it is time to move on and I will now concentrate on civil education, mainly in building infrastructure for peace building under the Zimbabwe Peace Trust,” the former MDC-T Senator said.

“I am indebted to Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma for allowing me to lead the Renewal Team. As curator there is a time limit to what I should do and I strongly believe I have done what I set out to do last year. I am convinced that the political leaders in this country will find the solutions to our problems.”

Holland said she has found it hard at 72 years of age, to juggle between her work as a peace lobbyist and being a politician.

“When I was appointed I did not leave my work that began with the National Healing Organ during the GNU, and I have found it hard now to continue with the two. I am thankful to our donors for what we have achieved and to Zimbabweans across the divide for the support we continue to receive. For our political leaders, the focus must not be on the presidency but on the people. We must inculcate the politics of issues,” she said.

“I will do better to serve this country in civil society now than as a political leader and continue to advise younger people towards a better Zimbabwe. We have a fired up group of young leaders who are clear on where this country must go.”

Holland said the Zimbabwe Peace Trust she was leading was a continuation of the work of the Organ, Copac and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (Jomic).

She claimed there was unity within the Renewal party, dismissing reports of infighting between some of the leaders in the political outfit. – The Standard

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