MDC-T interim president Nelson Chamisa’s political star received a major boost yesterday after the party’s district executives endorsed him as the opposition party’s presidential candidate, following the death of party founder, Morgan Tsvangirai, last week.
The decision came amid reports that MDC-T vice-president Elias Mudzuri had thrown his weight behind Chamisa, leaving Thokozani Khupe who was also jostling for the post, in the wilderness.
Khupe insists that she is the bona fide candidate to succeed Tsvangirai, although Chamisa now has an upper hand following another endorsement by the party’s national council last week.
Deputy party spokesperson, Thabitha Khumalo, told NewsDay Weekender that yesterday’s consultative meeting attended by 639 delegates from 210 party districts, dismissed Khupe’s call for an extra-ordinary congress to choose Tsvangirai’s successor.
“639 delegates from our 210 party districts have endorsed acting president Nelson Chamisa as the presidential candidate. They said it doesn’t make sense to go for a congress as we are now preparing for elections,” Khumalo said.
“The districts said they have embraced the national council’s resolution and they want that resolution to be respected by the leadership. We are not going to have an extra-ordinary congress.”
Earlier on, Chamisa had told journalists that the consultative meeting was meant to finalise the succession issue and “eliminate noise in the cockpit”.
“As regards the issue of the party in terms of its unity and hygiene, this is part of what we are doing to make sure that the party is clear so that we remove all the noise in the cockpit and that people are clear as we prepare for elections and they are clear in winning the elections,” Chamisa said.
The consultative meeting was attended by the majority of standing committee members with the exception of Khupe, organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe, party chairman Lovemore Moyo and spokesperson Obert Gutu.
During the Press briefing, Chamisa frequently consulted Mudzuri in a gesture widely interpreted to confirm reports that the two had patched up their differences and pledged to work together.
“What we have done is perfectly constitutional. What we have done is 100% legal,” Chamisa said. He added that he would soon reach out to Khupe, so that they iron out their differences.
“Of course, we appreciate that our vice-president Thokozani Khupe, has not been attending meetings for the past eight months because of issues around the (MDC) Alliance with our president the late Morgan Tsvangirai,” he said.
“We appreciate her circumstances, she has not understood the party processes that have been instituted and the position that the party has taken.”
MDC-T secretary for security Giles Mutsekwa said his department had launched its own investigations into the attack on Khupe and two other senior party officials during Tsvangirai’s burial in Buhera on Tuesday.
He said findings of the probe would be made public within the next seven days.
Chamisa also apologised for the violence, saying they will make everyone involved accountable for their actions.
“We are in the process of making sure that any person who is in the party structures who has been involved in this debacle is going to be fully accountable to the party and will not be part of this great family. We do not want malcontents in our midst,” he said.
He said the leader of the MDC Alliance will come from the MDC-T, further confirming his candidature ahead of the upcoming elections where he will square up with Zanu PF’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru of the People’s Rainbow Coalition.
Chamisa said following the death of Tsvangirai, the party will not change its name MDC-T, as it was used to distinguish them from the rest.