DISGRUNTLED MDC Alliance officials in Bulawayo yesterday gave their leader Mr Nelson Chamisa a hostile reception to the city by painting graffiti at the party’s provincial offices denigrating him for alleged dictatorship and tribalism as infighting in the troubled party escalates.
Mr Chamisa was in the city for the party’s provincial caucus where contestants vying for posts at the party’s scheduled congress were presenting their manifestos.
Before Bulawayo, he presided over similar meetings in Matabeleland North, South and the Midlands provinces.
It is suspected the graffiti attacking Mr Chamisa was written between midnight and early morning and party members who arrived at the offices earlier quickly notified their leadership.
Some of the messages written on the walls and gate to the party provincial office attacking the man of the people include, “Chamisa ule nketha betshabi (Chamisa you are tribalistic), “Chamisa usubulele i MDC” (Chamisa you have destroyed MDC), “Chamisa a worse dictator”, “Chamisa uyadelela” (Chamisa you are disrespectful) among other derogatory and inflammatory messages.
To avoid embarrassment, the party moved quickly to erase the graffiti by painting over the insults and erasing the messages off the wall by 10AM.
The Chronicle is in possession of pictures of the graffiti on the wall and after the party members erased it.
The graffiti was washed off the wall with a substance suspected to be thinners while paint was applied on the gate to cover the insulting messages.
Both national spokesperson Mr Jacob Mafume and Bulawayo provincial chairperson Mr Switcher Chirowodza feigned ignorance over the graffiti.
“We didn’t see any graffiti at our offices,” Mr Mafume said.
When pressed that this publication had pictures of the graffiti, he demanded to see the pictures before he could comment.
“I think it’s unfair to expect me to comment on things I did not see,” Mr Mafume said.
Mr Chirowodza on the other hand said: “I have heard about photo shop pictures on the walls of Getrude Mthombeni House (The party’s provincial offices). Your source should desist from disseminating fiction.”
The High Court last week ruled that the decision by the late MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to hand pick Mr Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri as his deputies was illegal and that the party should hold an extraordinary congress within a month using 2014 structures.
However, in defiance of the court order, Mr Chamisa and his party have declared that their congress will go ahead this month as planned. The court ruling is being viewed as a Zanu PF plot to destabilize the main opposition party after its preferred candidate Douglas Mwonzora was bashed by Chamisa during nomination process. Mwonzora failed to get a single nomination to run for presidency. He got one to remain as Secretary-General in Matabeleland South. He was ditched even by his home province, Manicaland, which said they didn't want him to occupy any position in the party of excellence MDC.
Mr Chamisa was dragged into a tribal storm when the party held a provincial congress in Bulawayo last month where he was accused of manipulating processes so that his desired candidates chosen on the basis of ethnicity win the positions they were contesting.
In the “chaotic” Bulawayo congress, party vice president Professor Welshman Ncube was snubbed by the province which did not nominate him to retain the post at the national congress slated for later this month.
Instead, the structures nominated Mr Tendai Biti, Mr Morgen Komichi and Ms Lillian Timveous for the vice presidency and nominated Prof Ncube for the secretary general’s position.
After the chaotic congress, losing Bulawayo provincial executive aspirants took on Mr Chamisa head-on accusing him of manipulating processes to achieve his desired outcome.
In a letter to the party’s national executive, 12 losing candidates blamed Mr Chamisa and organising secretary Mr Amos Chibaya for the chaotic congress.
The losing candidates alleged that the interference by Mr Chamisa and Mr Chibaya benefitted Mr James Sithole’s camp. Mr Sithole was elected as provincial chairperson.
They further argued that the provincial congress was illegal as it did not adhere to the party processes, conduct and procedures.
After the letter, Mr Chamisa set up a committee to review grievances from the provincial congresses but party members said yesterday’s caucus was testimony that the MDC Alliance leader had in actual fact ignored grievances raised by the 12 losing candidates.
Meanwhile, some Bulawayo councillors and senior members from Harare reportedly held a meeting in Luveve suburb on Sunday night to influence a group of members to heckle Prof Ncube as he presented his manifesto.
However, they did not get the chance as he arrived late towards the end of proceedings from Harare and did not get to present.