ZIMBABWE – THE opposition MDC Renewal Team led by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti has accused government of blocking its choice of guest-of-honour at the partyâ€™s inaugural congress set to begin in Harare on Thursday.
Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume told NewZimbabwe.com that the Renewal Team had invited Zambian opposition United Party for National Development, leader Hakainde Hachilemba but had met with obstacles from the government.
We had invited other social democrats from the region and Mr Hachilemba was supposed to be our guest of honour but, as has become the norm, President (Robert) Mugabe regime has thrown spanners in the works, said Mafume.
First it was the claim that they did not have enough manpower or some church had booked into the same venue as us hence we were forced to postpone, and now they will not allow our friends to come into the country.
Mafume said officials from the ministry of Foreign Affairs had rejected their request to invite Hachilemba into Zimbabwe.
To make matters worse for Biti political outfit, South African academic Moeletsi Mbeki who had agreed to come for the congress two weeks ago before the forced postponement, also indicated he would not be able to attend the rescheduled gathering because he is committed elsewhere.
The Renewal Team national management committee, national working council and the general council all met Wednesday ahead of the main congress.
The three-day event is being held under the theme: â€œReclaiming Zimbabwe and ends on Friday with an expected 7,000 delegates attending according to officials.
According to a statement issued by the party, the Renewal Team will, during its first congress, also launch a comprehensive economic policy proposal as well as a political revival plan for Zimbabwe.
Key highlights at the event include the unveiling of economic and political blueprints, the party constitution and a new logo.
The blueprints are; Holistic Program for Economic Transformation (HOPE), which is the economic blueprint and Agenda for the Rehabilitation and Restoration of Electoral Sustainability (ARREST), the political plan will be unveiled, the statement said adding the party will change its name to the People Democratic Party.
The name Renewal was coined when Biti was still in good books with erstwhile comrade Elton Mangoma following the breakaway from the MDC-T after a major fall-out with former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The party said it seeks to offer a new narrative to Zimbabweans.
Our solution at the end day is to give the people of Zimbabwe a new narrative, a new paradigm because another Zimbabwe is possible and Zimbabwe will never be the same again, said the statement.