MDC Alliance secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and the opposition party’s Manicaland provincial chairman David Chimhini had a torrid time after they were jeered by supporters at a rally in the eastern border city, Saturday.
But a defiant Mwonzora took the chance to lay down the marker telling an angry crowd Chamisa has had his chance.
Before he could speak however, Mwonzora required intervention of party leader Nelson Chamisa and national organising secretary Amos Chibaya to pacify the agitated crowd and allow the two leaders to address the rally. Chamisa was forced to jump onto the podium to save Mwonzora from humiliation.
Reports say Mwonzora is set to challenge Chamisa for the party’s top job at the MDC’s upcoming congress scheduled for the end of May. The former Nyanga North lawmaker has publicly stated that he is eligible to contest but has declined to explicitly indicate his willingness to run for the presidency.
When Chimhini took to the podium, supporters started jeering at him drowning his voice while others started shouting “Chamisa chete chete”.
“I won’t stop talking,” Chimhini said, adding “…president (Chamisa) this is a hired crowd. People were hired to disrupt”.
Chibaya intervened urging the crowd to allow the provincial chairman time to deliver his speech.
“Please let the chairman speak,” said Chibaya in an attempt to calm down the restive supporters.
Chimhini only managed to say a few words before retreating to his seat: “I encourage you as party supporters to be united ahead of the congress.”
When Mwonzora took to the podium, the supporters broke into a song declaring only Chamisa should lead “Chamisa amai mwana, Chamisa chete chete” again drawing Mwonzora’s voice with jeers.
Chamisa had to threaten party supporters that he would not speak if Mwonzora was not allowed to address the gathering.
“If you continue disrupting the secretary general then I will rather not talk and go back,” Chamisa said.
He added: “The MDC is a party of disciplined cadres. Let’s do our things in peace. We are a democratic party.”
The supporters waved placards “Chamisa chete chete kuCongress”.
“Please put down those placards and sit down,” Chamisa demanded.
After the crowd calmed, Mwonzora took to the stage and poured his heart out.
He boasted that Manicaland province was the only province were MDC Alliance won resoundingly against the ruling Zanu PF party. Mwonzora said the people of Manicaland province fought in the war of liberation but benefited nothing from successive Zanu PF administrations. The MDC chief administrator took the chance to send his message telling the crowd openly Chamisa’s time is over.
“After independence the people of Manicaland were neglected by Zanu PF governments.
“We selected Chamisa to be our candidate in the elections (last year) but that is now in the past,” said Mwonzora.
Mwonzora told the crowd he wanted to make his closing remarks English drawing the ire of the supporters.
“I want to speak in English on this point. I want this MDC to be united party. I want this party to be a party that chooses its own leadership.
“I want this MDC to be a tolerant and democratic party. I want this MDC as its secretary general to be disciplined party. Thank you very much Mr president,” said Mwonzora.