MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has rejected as “unacceptable and intolerable” utterances by the party’s youth wing in Harare that anyone who files nomination papers to challenge for the presidency at a congress slated for May will be the “enemy”.
“Anyone who has aspirations, who thinks or dreams of contesting Chamisa, is declaring themselves as enemies of Harare province, an enemy of progress in Zimbabwe,” the youths said at a news conference in Harare on Monday.
The MDC Youth Assembly’s intervention came in the wake of increasingly intemperate comments by senior party leaders criticising the MDC’s secretary general Douglas Mwonzora for giving signals that he would challenge Chamisa.
“In the MDC family we are clear. The people’s choice is Nelson Chamisa and he will remain our president and anyone who dreams of challenging him will be humiliated,” said Innocent Gonese, an MDC MP.
Another MDC lawmaker Job Sikhala said those who intend to challenge Chamisa “should not distract us” and warned that challenging Chamisa would be a “kiss of death” to the challenger’s political fortunes.
Party deputy President Professor Welshman Ncube has also discouraged those planning to rival current leader Nelson Chamisa, describing the move as a political miscalculation.
In an exclusive interview with 263Chat, Ncube said;
“You need to be a political astute to be able to make that judgement and expressing my own personal view that given where we are and the challenges we face, given the momentum that we have, any of us who thinks it is appropriate at this stage to change leadership I suspect they would not be making a very wise political judgement. But that is my opinion. Each individual is ultimately entitled to say no, no, this is the right time. We are a democratic party in a democratic country,
“Each one of us entitled to our opinions and I am also entitled to give advice to my colleagues to that I think you are making a mistake, this is not the right time.”
At the heart of the aggressive comments are widespread claims that Zanu PF has set a budget to try and influence the MDC’s internal elections in the hope of getting a less popular leader, or at least causing a split.
MDC deputy chairman Tendai Biti said the MDC would not be led by “a ruling party chosen half-wit” and “will reject any nincompoop given to us by Zanu PF… we will not tolerate that.”
Chamisa was challenged on Twitter to respond to the utterances by the Harare Youth Assembly.
“This is unacceptable and intolerable,” he said. “Whereas individual liberties and opinions are tolerated, macho politics unacceptable. Such politics occupy no space in the MDC, the glorious family of democrats, our party of excellence. We will put a stop to this and punish any such future infractions.”
Mwonzora has refused to rule out a challenge, insisting that he will wait to see the nominations from the provinces before deciding which position to contest.