When congresses are held, the usual assumption is that delegates freely elect their leaders and come out of these political gatherings more united and energised. They burst at the seams with enthusiasm and exhibit the signs that they are ready to govern.
Sadly, the party has emerged from the Bulawayo congress weaker, more divided and resembling the very same Zanu PF political system it is fighting to abolish.
There were reports of candidates pulling out of races after money exchanged hands and threats were issued.
It’s strange when party cadres who express interest in contesting posts and go through the nomination process all of a sudden withdraw their candidacy amid reports of threats, intimidation and vote buying.
These dirty tricks are synonymous with Zanu PF and are inimical to a clean electoral process. Again in typical Zanu PF style, the run-up to the congress was characterised by factional fights, which turned bloody in Bulawayo two weeks ago.
Godfathers emerged in MDC-T and fuelled factionalism in the provinces in broad daylight as they tried to outdo each other. Tribalism and regionalism reared their ugly heads and officials were manhandled for the simple reason, that they had come from another province.
All along, the MDC-T has been in denial of the existence of these factions that have adopted crude Zanu PF campaign tactics. The party had argued the divisions showed that the party was democratic and encouraged health competition for positions.
But party president Morgan Tsvangirai can no longer pretend that all is well in his party. He denounced the sponsors of factionalism and threatened to expel those behind violence in the party.
By castigating violence, Tsvangirai struck the right note but the problem is that Zanu PF’s culture of violence has established roots in his party and nothing short of an aggressive process to cleanse the party will produce desirable results.