MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has warned officials eyeing his position against working with Zanu PF to grab power from him saying he is firmly in charge of the country’s largest opposition party and would not tolerate dissent.
Chamisa rose to the MDC presidency following the party’s founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai’s death in February this year.
Tsvangirai’s death created an acrimonious power struggle between Chamisa, Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri — who used to deputise the party’s founding father.
In the end Chamisa and Khupe went separate ways — both claiming to be legitimate heirs to the throne. Mudzuri backed off from the tiff, and opted to work with Chamisa.
But with Chamisa’s party headed for its first elective congress after Tsvangirai’s demise, jostling for the top post has reached fever-pitch with MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and Mudzuri, who is one of the party’s deputy presidents, emerging as potential challengers for the top post.
In an ominous warning to his rivals, Chamisa who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the July 30 elections, told party supporters at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera at the weekend that Zanu PF was behind his rivals’ bid for power.
“It is surprising that Zanu PF is more interested in our congress than in its own congress as they seek to determine who emerges as the leader of the MDC because they have their preferred candidates and there is dirty money changing hands hence you hear them say Chamisa must go and so and so should take over but we will not allow that,” he thundered.
The 40-year-old former ICT minister accused Zanu PF of being behind Tsvangirai’s death purportedly in the hope that the MDC would die “but were surprised when I rose and proved to be even stronger hence their efforts at blocking me”.
“We are going to have our congress and elect our own leader, leaders that we want not those they want. We will put the one they fear most just to show them that they don’t determine what happens in the MDC. There are some in the leadership who think that because I took over from Tsvangirai I will allow them to do as they please in the party. No I am in charge until congress and will brook no nonsense, I want order and discipline,” he charged.
He insisted that congress was not his and the MDC’s priority at the moment as the party was focusing on “reclaiming our stolen victory”.
Several MDC officials have already taken turns to endorse him as the party’s president going into congress next year and beyond.
Leading the way was MDC secretary for elections, Murisi Zwizwai, organising secretary Amos Chibaya, youth secretary-general Lovemore Chinoputsa and national executive member Tracy Mutinhiri who all rephrased the party’s campaign slogan “2018 Chamisa chete chete to “2018, 2019, 2023 Chamisa chete chete”.
“We are going to congress soon and I want you to show by raising your hand if you believe Chamisa should continue until he says it’s enough. It’s not a crime to aspire to lead but we have made our choice that Chamisa will continue to lead beyond congress,” Zwizwai said.
On his part, Chinoputsa said “a vacancy only exists when someone has failed. Chamisa has won the elections so that means there can be no vacancy at the moment.
President, Mashonaland East has endorsed you so we are saying there is no vacancy,” Chinoputsa declared.
Chamisa has previously appealed to those seeking to challenge his position to eat the chill pill, saying it was too early for them to do so.
Addressing party supporters during MDC’s 19th anniversary celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium recently, Chamisa emphasised the need for unity in the party.