MDC-T acting president, Nelson Chamisa, has summoned the opposition party’s provincial and district executives for a meeting in Harare today, as he moves to consolidate his grip on power following a vicious campaign by his rivals Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri to discredit his appointment by the national council last week.
The meeting follows the burial of party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai at his rural home in Buhera on Tuesday.
This comes as Khupe has also announced plans to call an MDC-T national council meeting to endorse her as the party’s bona fide acting president.
MDC-T is facing one of its biggest leadership contestations since formation, with Chamisa, Khupe and Mudzuri angling to take over from the late opposition leader.
Although Chamisa appears to be the most popular among the trio, Khupe and Mudzuri have accused him of manipulating his way to the top.
Presidential spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the meeting, but denied reports that Chamisa wanted to purge some provincial and district leaders opposed to his ascendancy.
“This is just a consultative meeting to hear the way forward. Because they are not an organ of the party, the president or acting president has the latitude to call them and discuss issues,” he said.
Some provincial leaders said they will bring several issues among them indiscipline, allocation of seats in the MDC Alliance, the current leadership crisis and the way forward.
Harare provincial chairman, Eric Murayi said he was looking forward to the meeting to discuss the party’s preparations for the upcoming elections.
“We want the party to move forward and people to unite,” he said.
However, sources within the party said the meeting was likely to be used to suspend top officials opposed to Chamisa, among them secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora and spokesperson, Obert Gutu.
“That decision (Chamisa’s elevation) is unlikely to be challenged and those saying things to the contrary are likely to face the wrath of the party like what happened to the former deputy treasurer, Elton Mangoma,” the source said.
But Mwonzora stood his ground yesterday, declaring he would not allow his detractors to push him around.
“Well I am not afraid of anyone in the MDC-T. I am not afraid of those people who will be hired to simply heckle other people and in fact, I will stand up to them. I hold my views, which are correct and the main issue is the interpretation of our constitution and I cannot cease to be a lawyer because it will offend anybody,” he said.