The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has reportedly called for a national council meeting tomorrow to start work on a roadmap to its elective congress at a time some of its top officials are said to be jostling for control of the main opposition party.
Some members are reportedly accusing party leader Nelson Chamisa of manipulating the structures in his favour and making it hard for his challengers to come out and openly campaign ahead of the congress.
Chamisa rose to power in February last year following the death of founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, who succumbed to cancer of the colon.
NewsDay heard yesterday that tomorrow’s national council meeting is meant to craft the congress roadmap. Chamisa’s challengers accused his lieutenants of tampering with structures and indirectly making it difficult for those reportedly outside his camp to freely open up and prepare for the elective congress.
This has forced disgruntled structures across the country to appeal to secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora to intervene.
Early this month, Mwonzora wrote to provincial secretaries and chairpersons to furnish him with structures so as to counter the alleged on-going manipulations.
“You are directed to submit copies of names of current members in all structures in your provinces to the secretary-general’s office on or before February 4, 2019,” the letter read.
“Make sure the information you submit is the same information in your organising department. Please be advised that in terms of article 9.5.1 (d) and (e), the secretary-general is the custodian of all important party documents, papers, records and contracts, as well as the membership list.”
Concern has been raised over national organising secretary Amos Chibaya’s weekend statements that those wishing to challenge Chamisa are, in fact, digging their own political graves.
This week, Chamisa’s continued hold to power came under scrutiny, with members accusing him of breaching the party constitution that allows for a maximum period of one year before going for congress, in the event of the death of the party president.
“What is happening now is that there is a team dispatched to saliently campaign for Chamisa. This team is harassing structures and will-nilly removing those that are calling for the alternative,” a source said.
“This has forced members to call upon the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to produce structures that they used at the last congress. Some people, seen to be opposed to Chamisa, are being hounded out and it is unfortunate that internal purging is going on as if nothing is happening.
“With the current situation, it is even difficult to challenge what is going on. Chamisa’s backers have become the constitution on their own.”
Party chairperson Tabitha Khumalo said the congress delegates are based on 2014 congress registers.
“The structures of the MDC are based on the people who attended the 2014 congress and so there is no manipulation,” she said.
“We haven’t held the congresses of all the structures. What is being said is all rubbish. This is just a group of people trying to create a storm in a tea cup and there is no manipulation whatsoever. Every position will be contested.”