- Published on 15 January 2015
- Written by Fingaz
One of the most powerful women in opposition politics, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga is considering quitting politics which she feels has continued to be too tumultuous for her liking.
The Movement for Democratic Change, secretary general has been at the centre of the internal bickering within the party, led by Welshman Ncube.
MDC members in Matebeleland South have been resisting her nomination to the House of Assembly on the proportional representation ticket and of late there are suspicious that she is undermining Ncube's on-going negotiations for a coalition between MDC Renewal Team, headed by Sekai Holland and the MDC.
Following her nomination for the proportional representation seat in 2013, questions have been raised in the MDC over her representation of a province where she does not stay. It was felt that she had been imposed on the people by the party president who was accused of favouring and shielding her. Party members also viewed her imposition as a violation of the party's principles. So bad was the resistance that it caused internal turmoil that saw some of the most vocal people being suspended and eventually fired from the party.
"My personal position was that I can't be a representative of an area where there was so much opposition of me. I had decided to step back but I only stayed because the leadership felt they needed someone in leadership and of my experience to be part of the party's representation. But the fights continued," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
Of late, Misihairabwi-Mushonga's name is being tied to some suspected machinations of undermining the party president for her own benefit. Suspicions are that in the party's re-unification with the MDC Renewal Team, the MDC may have to choose which of the two, Ncube or Misihairabwi-Mushonga will get one of the top most positions in the joint party as no one of the formations will get both the presidency and secretary general positions.
Speculation doing the rounds in the Ncube's formation is that Misihairabwi-Mushonga would like to be the secretary-general (SG) and as such is pushing for Ncube to be the vice president. Misihairabwi-Mushonga vehemently denied this in an interview.
"I have made it very clear that I do not want any key position in the party. Whether we unify or not I am not taking any central position," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
"I have made a conscious and deliberate choice that I have been at the centre of many things in the party there are many more people particularly women in my party with better capacity and energy and it is time that they too begin to take influential and critical roles. I guess it is in the nature of politics that honesty is not sacrosanct so in the quest for power I have seen a sinister side of people and I have lost many friendships because in politics loyalty is a myth. One you consider a friend today for today's convenience can easily turn their guns on you," she said.
Ncube has since denied that there was any question of his being vice president or anyone pushing for any such conspiracies in his leadership or in the Renewal Team.
"It has not arisen and it will not arise… when the time comes (according to the roadmap of the reunification) the positions will be decided and agreed to by consensus. We are not at that point yet," Ncube told the publication.
According to the re-unification as signed to by the two formations, the issue of positions will only come after the structures have been unified. Structure re-integration will start at the end of February. Meanwhile, fears that some members within the top leadership are plotting against the party president could undermine current talks to amalgamate the formation with the MDC Renewal Team.
Although positions for the reunified party have not yet been allocated, in principle the two formations have agreed that, as a way of equitably dividing up the posts, the party which takes up the presidency, will not take up the SG position as well, leaving it for the other formation so as to balance power between the two MDCs.
If one formation takes up the chairperson positions, the other would have to take up the organising secretary position and so on and so on. Within that context suspicions are that some in the leadership keen on saving the SG position for possible Misihairabwi-Mushonga, are pushing for Ncube to take up not the presidency, but vice presidency as the party would not be able to keep Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Ncube in the two top posts together.
A Whatsapp message said by sources to have been sent by Ncube to party members, cast suspicion on some people in the leadership of the MDC alongside those in the Renewal Team for pushing the Ncube-for-vice president agenda.
"I have had several provincial chairpersons coming to me to ask if there was any truth in the claims being made to them, mostly by some of our colleagues in Renewal but also by some in our leadership that I had agreed to be the deputy president of the re-united party," the Whatsapp message read in part, indicating suspicion on internal people from the leadership ranks of the party.
"I have assured all the provincial chairpersons who have sought clarity from me on this issue that there is absolutely no truth in the allegation," the message supposed to be from the party leader went on.
Ncube yesterday denied to the publication that he had sent such a message. Sources within the party, however, told the paper that the message had indeed come from the party president and went on to say that the suspected people in the leadership were none other than Misihairabwi-Mushonga. The suspicion being that she was plotting to undermine Ncube by pushing for him to take the vice presidency so that she could be the SG of the unified party.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said such suspicions of her were misplaced as she had no ambitions to hold any key positions.
"I have made it very clear that I do not want any key position in the party. Whether we unify or not I am not taking any central position. I have made a conscious and deliberate choice that I have been at the centre of many things in the party there are many more people particularly women in my party with better capacity and energy and it is time that they too begin to take influential and critical roles," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
The suspicions have been likened to the Zanu-PF scenario where accusations were that former Vice President Joice Mujuru was plotting against President Robert Mugabe in a way that Misihairabwi-Mushonga is, if sources are anything to go by, suspected of doing against Ncube. Misihairabwi-Mushonga said that given the conspiracies that some people want to cook out it was ultimately up to the party president to work with people had faith in.
"We do not want another Zanu-PF scenario. My position is that is best that the president (Ncube) works with people he has full confidence in," she said.
Ncube told the publication that the reunited party was nowhere close to allocating positions.
"It has not arisen and it will not arise… when the time comes (according to the roadmap of the reunification) the positions will be decided and agreed to by consensus. We are not at that point yet," said Ncube.
According to the re-unification, as signed to by the two formations, the issue of positions will only come after the structures have been unified. Structure re-integration will start at the end of February. According to Ncube everything on the roadmap to re-unification is on course and he is confident the reunified party will pose a formidable challenge to status quo in 2018 elections.
"We are confident we are doing what we ought to do. We are reasserting the original values of the MDC and capturing the spirit of democracy which we had in 1999 when the MDC was formed. We are working together with people whom we share common values," he said.