MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has moved to ringfence himself from potential challenges ahead of the party’s elective congress in October after declaring that he was ordained by the late party founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai for the post.
The main opposition party heads for its first elective congress after the death of Tsvangirai, who lost a two-year battle to cancer of the colon last February.
Chamisa, who is facing a possible challenge to the throne from his deputy, Elias Mudzuri and party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, is trying to consolidate his position.
Speaking at the Morgan Tsvangirai memorial lecture, Chamisa invoked what he said he was told by the former Prime Minister.
“I told the leadership that before Tsvangirai passed on, he told me to lead the MDC to achieve his vision of unity. My job is to ensure I provide a vision. A vision is for a few and provision for many. What is the vision? This year is our year of congress. We are deepening our democracy and democratically electing our leadership. We want to show we are not Zanu PF, but a party of the people that is going to lead,” he said.
Chamisa said before Tsvangirai left for his medical sojourn in South Africa, he asked him to take over the reins of MDC and unite the party, including roping in Welshmen Ncube and Tendai Biti.
“We are going to congress in honour of the legacy of Morgan Tsvangirai. On January 5 (2018), before he went to seek medication, he called me. Luke (Tamborinyoka) was there. His wife (Elizabeth Macheka) was there and many others. He said to me: ‘Chamisa, I am going, so I am leaving you in charge. I want you to bring Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti back into the party’,” he said.
“I said I have heard you, but the job you want to give me, this will cause problems if you leave me in charge. I said to him, ‘please, appoint Mudzuri to act while you are away, then I will do the work that you have asked me when you come back, but Tsvangirai asked me why I was refusing and I said if (Thokozani) Khupe hears this, she will faint.’”
The MDC has been accusing Zanu PF of trying to fund challengers against Chamisa and also have its own people in the top ranks of the opposition party. Chamisa said he was aware of the plan ahead of the congress and would not allow it to work.
“Zanu PF is struggling with our vison, but we won’t allow it to divide the party. I told them that even if you put money, we are not going to allow you to divide us. Our hands are firmly on the wheel,” he said.