MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is moving to consolidate his grip on the opposition party ahead of its elective congress early next year, which is expected to make or break his political future.
Insiders who spoke to NewsDay said Chamisa’s plan was to build a public swell of support around himself so that it becomes difficult for any potential challengers to get into the ring with him.
“Chamisa is drumming up support and raving his popularity both within and outside the structures of the party, mainly to create an intimidatory fence that will deter other members of the party from challenging him at congress,” a senior official in the opposition party said.
“He knows he can’t stop the elections at congress, so he wants to make it seem like he can’t be challenged.”
Chamisa will be going on a whirlwind tour in the coming week to galvanise party structures across the country ahead of planned street protests seeking to unseat President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“We are going to be organising ourselves internally, then we go to programmes that we want to do throughout the country from next week,” Chamisa said at the MDC 19th anniversary commemorations held in the capital at the weekend.
“I will be going to every area, where I will be setting out the plan, something big in this country, hold your cards on the intended march to State House.
When we do this, we want to have a clear plan on what date we start and to the day we end. We will not go back home until we achieve the intended plan.”
Youth assembly secretary-general Lovemore Chinoputsa declared at the party’s 19th anniversary celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium that the party’s national executive was clear that Chamisa would remain leader of the MDC Alliance.
Chinoputsa said there was no need to change a winning team, saying it was time for the MDC family to endorse the leadership of Chamisa, claiming he polled 2,6 million votes in the July 30 presidential poll instead of the 2,1 million announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
“The general position of the MDC (Alliance) is that our president Chamisa won the election, which was stolen by the junta government.
He got 2,6 million votes. Why would we want to change a winning team? We have to rally behind him and improve our brand,” he said.
Chamisa followed suit, saying: “Remain in the direction of the party, that direction is (late MDC leader Morgan) Tsvangirai left power in my hands.
I will leave power in the hands of another, going on that direction, doing the work, going forward. You can’t seek to wrest power from me before I even reach the desired goal.”