A serious brawl is going on within the local structures of the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC, with two factions that both claim to be the legitimately-elected Mwenezi district executive emerging.
At the apex of the conflict are those in the outgoing district executive; district chairperson Timitia Dziva and his deputy Alfred Chihwakwa-Sithole.
They both contested for the district’s chairperson post during last months’ district congress and are now at each other’s throats as each emphatically claims to be the new chairperson.
When contacted for comment, Dziva, who is provincial chairperson James Gumbi’s blue-eyed boy in the district, insisted he was the legitimate district leader.
“Some people can say whatever they want but I am the one who was elected district chairperson. Those who ran the district congress are there to testify that I won. All the district elections are complete and we are now preparing for the national congress,” said Dziva.
On the other hand, Chihwakwa-Sithole, who was reportedly backing the Tongai Matutu camp during the provincial congress held at Masvingo Sports Club on April 16, also claimed legitimacy as district leader.
“I can confirm that there are disagreements over the post of district chairperson but honestly speaking, I am the one who was elected to lead. I won resoundingly and I am the one who is currently in-charge,” said Chihwakwa-Sithole.
The dispute between Dziva and Chihwakwa-Sithole has cascaded down to their supporters, with the party’s WhatsApp groups being turned into strategic battlegrounds.
Several influential MDC members told TellZim News that in the event that the national leadership failed to swiftly resolve the row, which they described as one of the worst in the history of the district, the party will pay dearly in the next national elections.
It is understood that two venues – Sarahuru growth point and Chingwizi – were used during the district congress.
Party members were first informed that the event was to be held at Sarahuru but new communications directing people to Chingwizi were later made as the Dziva and Chihwakwa-Sithole camps tussled for influence.
The two camps ended up conducting two congresses one presided over by the Dziva camp at Chingwizi and the other one ran by the Chihwakwa-Sithole faction at Sarahuru.
TellZim News reported last week that disgruntled party members angered by the disqualification of Tongai Matutu as candidate at the provincial congress and the subsequent win by Gumbi over Simon Mupindu were plotting to run parallel structures in the province.