INFORMATION deputy minister and ex rhumba musician Energy Mutodi has called on MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to relinquish his position to Thokozani Khupe, leader of another faction of the MDC-T.
Mutodi said if Chamisa respected the rule of law as a democrat, he would step down from the helm of the MDC and allow Khupe, already leading her own MDC-T party, to takeover Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House (formerly Harvest House).
Harvest House is the main opposition party headquarters.
Chamisa took the mettle left vacant following the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai on February 14 last year.
He also took over the MDC party headquarters.
“After being declared an illegitimate president of the MDC and usurper of the power in an opposition party that purports to stand for democracy, the honourable thing for Nelson Chamisa (to do) is simply to resign. No court on earth can endorse an illegality, even a court of appeals,” Mutodi said.
The deputy minister’s statements come at a time the MDC has accused Zanu PF of using government arms to interfere in the internal opposition party politics.
But Chamisa hit back, saying the Zanu PF regime and Mutodi should keep their “hands off” and stop meddling in the affairs of a voluntary organisation.
The opposition leader said Mutodi’s utterances all but confirmed the allegations that Zanu PF had a hand in the MDC party internal politics.
“How does a government get so interested in the affairs of a voluntary organisation? You think that they want a strong opposition when they are not sleeping because of us?” Chamisa queried.
“We are not even an opposition to them. We are not in the business of opposing. They are the opposition. We are the alternative. The opposition is Zanu PF, which is opposing people, their freedom and happiness. We are the alternative.”
Chamisa vowed to “step up and not step down” from his position as MDC leader.
“I will step up, the desires and aspirations of the people. I lose sleep because of the failed economy, the poverty that is pervading fellow Zimbabweans, not this judgment. It is not final, it will be challenged,” he said.
In the run-up to the MDC congress, Zanu PF, through its youth league and war veterans, led by Defence deputy minister Victor Matemadanda, have openly indicated that they preferred party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora to take over the presidency.
Matemadanda said Mwonzora was “more mature and dignified” than Chamisa and would be easy to deal with as an opposition leader.
Mwonzora, who distanced himself from Zanu PF, failed to get a single nomination for the presidency and is, instead, fighting to retain his post after securing only one nomination.
Mutodi said Zanu PF had no dogs in the MDC fight, but wanted a vibrant and legally sound opposition party to keep them on their feet.
“We know the value of a strong opposition as government and the ruling party (Zanu PF) and we are simply saying Chamisa, who is now illegal, makes the opposition illegal and, therefore, won’t contribute much as a watchdog,” he declared.