THE circus in the MDC-T over leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s succession took a new twist yesterday, with two of his three deputies – Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri – claiming they were in charge of the party.
The fight escalated on Wednesday after Mudzuri left for South Africa with another of Tsvangirai’s deputies, Thokozani Khupe, and party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora to attend a coalition workshop with other opposition parties in Cape Town.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka on Wednesday released a statement, saying Chamisa was now the acting MDC-T president.
But a few hours later, a letter was released purportedly signed by Tsvangirai, claiming that Mudzuri was still acting president, dismissing Tamborinyoka as a “liar”. This prompted Tamborinyoka to convene a Press conference yesterday, where he angrily described the letter rubbishing Chamisa’s elevation as bogus.
“I also want to place it on record that there is a purported statement from the office of the president that seeks to nullify what the president himself directed I communicate,” he said.
“For the record, that letter is on a fraudulent letterhead with a scanned signature of the president, which signature is readily available online.
“The office of the president has not released such a letterhead to anyone and the president, who is currently in SA, has not asked for it, for him to place his purported letter. In short, the so-called letter is fraudulent and bogus.”
This drew Mudzuri’s ire, who hit back at Tamborinyoka, claiming he was just acting on his own behalf.
“I am the one who sent that letter. I am here in South Africa and I am coming back home,” Mudzuri told NewsDay from South Africa. He [Tamborinyoka] is refusing to communicate with president Tsvangirai and he is now behaving like an errant person.
“What he is doing is coming from his head and not from the president.
“Nothing has ever changed and the letter I sent was given to me from Tsvangirai. I am not responding much to him [Tamborinyoka], when you are not there you cannot do much, but that letter is authentic. Whatever they are doing, I don’t know why they are denigrating a united party and tearing it apart.
“It’s not correct to change things without consultation. This guy didn’t get anything from the president, but we are going to act on that.”
Mudzuri said action would be taken against Tamborinyoka, adding that he was going to meet Tsvangirai to discuss contentious issues in the party.
Tamborinyoka, who has served Tsvangirai for almost a decade, said Chamisa had already assumed his responsibilities in an acting capacity as directed by Tsvangirai.
Yesterday, Chamisa addressed the parliamentary caucus and also met provincial chairpersons.
“I wish to state that the stampede in the cockpit is needless and unnecessary,” Tamborinyoka said, adding: “This needless stampede by political vultures is disrespectful of his wife and family as well as the towering edifice of Brand Tsvangirai that has inspired Zimbabweans over the years.”
In September 2017, Tsvangirai appointed Khupe to act as party president, while on January 5, Mudzuri became acting leader before Chamisa assumed the reigns this week.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube weighed in an said as a coalition, they saw no value in the South Africa meeting.
“When the MDC Alliance finally obtained a list of the delegates from other coalitions/alliances and parties, the insidious agenda of those responsible for handpicking the MDC Alliance delegation to exclude more than half of its principals, while including every Tom, Dick and Harry from other groupings, became self-evident and the MDC Alliance consequently resolved that it would not be party to a process calculated to divide and dismember it,” he said.
“The MDC Alliance remains committed to genuine dialogue with other democratic coalitions/alliances/parties so as to build the broadest possible coalition of democratic parties. However, the MDC Alliance will resist all attempts to place it in the service of any Zanu PF faction.”