OPPOSITION MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, has started ring-fencing his political life amid reports that the Thokozani Khupe-led team is gnawing into structures of the party and steadily building a movement which could leave him and his peers in the cold.
Douglas Mwonzora, reinstated to the position of secretary-general by the Supreme Court, is leading the assault on Chamisa, with sources saying his team had already opened new WhatsApp groups where they were adding mostly members from the 2014 MDC structures who lost their posts after the integration of alliance partners into the MDC.
In a notice, MDC Alliance organising secretary Amos Chibaya warned party members against joining the new groups being put in place by Mwonzora.
“As the national organising department, we did not form new national council WhatsApp groups, so reject being added to any new NC WhatsApp groups. The rebels are now desperate and are masquerading as the national organising department. All suspected structural issues please report to national organising secretary Amos Chibaya,” the memo sent out to party supporters read.
Deputy organising secretary Happymore Chidziva said they were not worried about the attempt to poach members and rope them into the MDC formation that is being run by Mwonzora.
“Well, those being added into groups have freedom of association rights and we are not going to force them to leave those groups. We just want people to know that those are not our groups and if they choose to remain there, it’s their right,” he said.
Mwonzora, who is leading preparations for the MDC-T extraordinary congress (EOC), confirmed using WhatsApp groups to mobilise the MDC 2014 structures, saying because of the lockdown, he had to resort to the use of technology which has had overwhelming response.
A new secretariat has also been put in place, with Mwonzora claiming he has employed Nixon Nyikadzino, the secretary-general of Khupe’s MDC-T.
“Our secretariat is on the ground and working using WhatsApp groups and other means, and it’s oversubscribed. What I can say is that those who are against the implementation of the Supreme Court decision are not united. We know that they are collecting names of the 2014 structures, they are preparing to attend the EOC and are actually lobbying for posts in the party when we eventually hold congress.”
“Mr Nyikadzino did come to me and I did give him a job because he initially said he accepted the Supreme Court decision, but well, now he has written a letter which changes his position, but it’s of no effect,” Mwonzora said.
He said he already had 50% of the delegates needed for congress in the bag and was working to raise 20% to ensure that at least two-thirds of the delegates attend congress.
“We have used WhatsApp groups, and other means to reach and verify the delegates to the congress and we have, at the moment, 3 000 delegates who have confirmed and are ready to attend congress. This is 50% of what we need. So we are working to get the other delegates so that we record two-thirds which is required,” he said.
MDC Alliance secretary-general, Chalton Hwende said they were as sure as light that the attempts by Mwonzora and Khupe to revive their waning political lives through the backdoor were doomed.
“All of a sudden, those who were opposed to the MDC Alliance want to benefit from it. They claim its electoral victory is theirs, that a Supreme Court ruling that we were not part of gives them access to the supporters of the party. Well, we wish them well in their new political endeavours, but we will not lose sleep over their actions,” he said.
In the face of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, Mwonzora, Khupe and former chair Morgen Komichi are considering holding their congress via virtual means.
Mwonzora had earlier said he would be releasing a roadmap yesterday after a standing committee meeting, which is scheduled before the end of the week.