NEW MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa cannot talk about democracy and constitutionalism after "illegally" grabbing power in the opposition party, war veterans' leader Victor Matemadanda has said.
Addressing liberation war fighters in Mutare last week, Matemadanda, who is also a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party's politburo, said the MDC-T had been hijacked by power hungry young turks who lacked the vision of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai recently succumbed to a long battle against colon a cancer. He was promptly replaced as party leader by Chamisa in a controversial process that is bitterly contested by rivals Thokhozani Khuphe and Elias Mudzuri.
Matemadanda said it was unacceptable for MDC-T youths to disparage Khuphe as a "dissident".
"We will ask those in Matabeleland North, where we are going to address (war veterans), how they feel when one of their own is labelled a dissident.
"That's why we said it is called Movement for Destructive Change," said Matemadanda.
He urged war veterans to mobilise people in their respective districts to vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa in general elections due later this year.
War veterans are reportedly worried that young Chamisa will bag all the votes from jobless youths who constitute the majority of the Zimbabwean population and hand their candidate president Mnangagwa a humiliating defeat in this year's make-or-break elections.
This comes after the country’s main opposition alliance unanimously endorsed Nelson Chamisa as its presidential candidate for this year’s harmonised national elections.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Tendai Biti — who is also a key figure in the MDC Alliance — told the Daily News on Sunday that Chamisa's nomination had been made with the complete agreement of all the leaders of the grouping.
The MDC National Council — which is the main opposition party’s highest decision-making body outside congress — has also already endorsed Chamisa as the party’s acting president, although the gathering that made that decision was contested and boycotted by Khupe and Mudzuri.
Biti said emphatically yesterday, that as a result of the MDC alliance rallying behind Chamisa, the youthful Kuwadzana legislator would be its sole presidential candidate, and would thus square off against President Emmerson Mnangagwa in this year’s presidential elections which are due in less than five months.
The watershed polls will be the first in the past two decades not to feature 94-year-old toppled former president Robert Mugabe and the late Tsvangirai.