SOME Western countries are pouring substantial amounts of money through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to unite feuding MDC factio pns.
If efforts to unite the feuding parties fail, the funders intend to prop-up MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, whose image has been adversely damaged by the manner in which he usurped leadership following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai, the loss of party headquarters to the Dr Thokozani Khupe faction and constant bickering of party members.
After being stripped of rights to funding provided under the Political Parties Finance Act, the MDC-A has been relying on its traditional funders comprising of some Western embassies, through NGOs.
This is in direct violation of the Political Parties Finance Act, which prohibits foreign funding for local political parties.
Just last Sunday, the MDC-A youth assembly convened a congress in Masvingo funded by the US Embassy through proxies in civil society, namely Masvingo Centre for Research Advocacy and Development (MACRAD) and Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development Trust (COTRAD).
Information gleaned from several sources revealed that the NGOs paid an undisclosed amount at a lodge in Masvingo to provide conference facilities for the congress. The congress is said to have turned into a charade after Mr Chamisa imposed his candidates much to the chagrin of some of the aspirants.
The congress saw Bernard Chimwango being handpicked as the provincial youth chairperson with Gilbert Mutubuki being appointed secretary general.
“There are three officials from the NGOs, who include Zivanai Muzorozi who made the payment. These organisations that are involved in peace-building initiatives in the province requested funding last year and were told to have a recommendation from the MDC-A, which they got from the party secretary general Chalton Hwende after promising him logistical support for the MDC-A youth assembly in the province,” said an insider in the NGOs sector.
In an interview, Muzorozi denied funding opposition party activities and blamed the infighting in the MDC-A for soiling NGOs’ image.
“I was not involved. What I know is police had to be called in after some skirmishes and that the congress was held at their offices,” he said.
MDC-A secretary general Mr Hwende was not picking up his phone and did not respond to messages sent to his mobile phone.
Commenting on the meddling of some Western nations in the internal politics of the country, experts said the latest funding of the MDC-A activities was just a continuation of the countries’ anti-Zanu PF agenda since 1999 when the opposition outfit was formed.
A fortnight ago another civil society organisation, name supplied, hosted a programme at a hotel in the capital facilitated by a Swiss national, which touched on dispute resolution, conflict management and dialogue and mediation.
Sources said the workshop was funded by another Western embassy which is trying to reconcile the various factions of the MDC.
Insiders in the MDC-A interviewed by The Herald have raised eyebrows on the party’s ability to book hotel venues at a time when the employees are making do without salaries and when the party has no political home after being booted out by the Dr Thokozani Khupe camp from the Morgan Tsvangirai headquarters.
Notwithstanding its apparent bankruptcy, the MDC-A recently launched a 1 million campaign targeting young people around the country. The programme is being spearheaded by the youth assembly, which got funding from a US State Department international CSO that claims to defend human rights.
Impeccable sources told this publication that the so-called human rights organisation is headed by a lawyer who is having an affair with one of the MDC-A vice presidents.
The youths have traversed the country and just last week took their campaign to Mashonaland East after being in Mashonaland West and Bulawayo provinces. The campaign by the youths is meant to woo rural voters who over the years have shunned the opposition party for its anti-African and anti-liberation stance.
Meanwhile, Thokozani Khupe and President Mnangagwa are alleged to be working together to destroy Chamisa, an accusation they both deny.
They are allegedly plotting to have all Chamisa MPs recalled, a development to allow Zanu PF to amend the constitution to raise the presidential running age limit to 50 to block the MDC leader, who is in his 40s.
Zanu PF is also allegedly plotting to form a unity government with Khupe and suspend elections until 2027 to effectively shut Chamisa out.
— Herald/The Standard