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Zimbabwe opposition suspends official who urged leader to quit

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Friday suspended a top official after he publicly called on party leader and former premier Morgan Tsvangirai to resign over his defeat at the polls last year.

Elton Mangoma, a former energy minister and deputy treasurer of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was suspended pending an appearance before a disciplinary tribunal.

"The charges emanate from the decision by Mangoma to ignore the directive of the national executive not to discuss party business through the press and fanning factionalism within the party," said MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora.

In an open letter published in state media in January, Mangoma said the party was "in need of new ideas" and that Tsvangirai should "consider leaving the office".

Tsvangirai was defeated in the July 2013 elections by his arch-rival President Robert Mugabe, in a vote that ended an uneasy power-sharing government between the two leaders.

Tsvangirai has led the MDC for 15 years and through three failed presidential elections. His term as party leader expires in 2016.

He dismissed calls for his resignation as "irresponsible".

Mangoma was last month beaten up by MDC youth at the party headquarters after a meeting.

He described the incident as a sign of "intolerance in the party" following his plea for Tsvangirai to step down.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140307/zimbabwe-opposition-suspends-official-who-urged-leader-quit