MDC Alliance principals reportedly held a crisis meeting on Sunday to defuse tension caused by a public spat between acting alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and acting MDC-T president Elias Mudzuri at a rally in Chitungwiza.
Sources told NewsDay yesterday that the alliance partners resolved to ask the MDC-T executive to put its house in order and avoid embarrassing confrontations that would draw negatives against the coalition.
According to the sources, other principals such as ZimPF leader Agrippa Mutambara were pushing for a change of name and logo for the alliance during the meeting.
Chamisa, who was recently handpicked to represent ailing MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai at alliance meetings, yesterday shot down reports that they held a crisis meeting, insisting it was a scheduled engagement among coalition partners.
“This was a scheduled meeting and not a crisis meeting and it was dealing with the issues of the name of the alliance brought up by other comrades there and it was solved amicably,” Chamisa said.
He said those issuing different statements about the state of the alliance within MDC-T should be disregarded as there were specific people mandated to speak authoritatively about the coalition.
“The key thing is that the MDC-T is safe and sound. It is a united party and the base is very strong and the supporters are united to support their president Morgan Tsvangirai and we are only exercising those delegated powers on behalf of president Tsvangirai.
“Ignore the noise, ignore the hullaballoo. There is no problem, we are clear and we are focused. We are driving this revolutionary train to the new Zimbabwe and these are the last miles to a new Zimbabwe and in the last miles you always have these adventurism pursuits, but they will not stop the train,” Chamisa said.
Sources maintained yesterday that the meeting was looking at different ways to combat negativities that might damage the alliance.
“Although not limited to this matter alone, the discussion was also triggered by ever-growing fights in the MDC-T and if left unsolved, it will cause irreparable damage to the alliance. The biggest fear is that the alliance might fail before elections and the partners were also demanding a clear roadmap on how the party will solve its internal issues,” a well-placed source said.
Mutambara said it was agreed that the differences within MDC-T could best be resolved within the party itself.
“We know that MDC-T has some internal disagreements and we decided that at this stage we don’t want to involve ourselves in those disagreements and we are sure that they are taking measures to make sure that the situation is corrected and that there is no ambiguity on what is happening,” Mutambara said.
“We want to give them time to see what measures they are taking and it is only after that, that we will look for the way forward,” he said.
Asked if there was a specific time frame given to the MDC-T to sort out its issues, Mutambara said they were hopeful that their internal matters would be solved soon.
“We didn’t give them a fixed time frame, but we are aware very soon they will be meeting to resolve their misunderstanding that they have. It is our hope that in the shortest possible time, they would have addressed this issue,” he said. This came at a time when the party’s youth assembly issued a stern warning to its leaders to adhere to their roles given to them by ailing Tsvangirai.
Youth assembly chairperson Happymore Chidziva yesterday said there was no confusion on the roles delegated to the party leaders and they must stick to their roles.
Chamisa was left in charge of the alliance, while Mudzuri is the acting party president.
“If our leadership have previous (unsolved matters) we pray that they get past that and make sure that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is not successful at the coming elections. They must respect the appointments made by president Tsvangirai,” Chidziva said.
“We don’t have qualms over that and what we want now is to see the leadership fulfilling its given assignments and to unify the party. Each was given a particular role and they must stick to that.”
Mutambara also confirmed their compromise on the name.
“Regarding the name, because of the time that we will take to reach a decision we feel that we cannot pursue it any further, but of course, we had our objections that ideally we should have a neutral name that doesn’t look like we have been subsumed by the MDC-T.
“We compromised that we can continue with the name, but we also said when it comes to the logo, it must reflect the logos of other political parties. We are still to agree on that,” Mutambara said.