Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Mwonzora was planning to 'fight' Chamisa 3 months before 2018 election

by Staff reporter
25 Jun 2021 at 08:48hrs | Views
Former MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora was plotting to "fight" party leader Nelson Chamisa three months before the July 2018 elections, leaked chats by former cabinet minister and Zanu-PF official Jonathan Moyo reveal.

Moyo - exiled after a military coup collapsed Robert Mugabe's government in November 2017 - has published on Twitter what he claims were WhatsApp chats with Mwonzora. He accuses the MDC-T leader of "vomiting nonsense about me."

Moyo lost his rag after Mwonzora appeared on a radio programme and accused MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa of "taking the politics of Professor Jonathan Moyo of brutalising his opponents; of rubbishing his opponents; of hate language."

In the chats, Mwonzora is apparently critical of Chamisa's decision to attend Independence celebrations where Zanu-PF rival and post-coup president Emmerson Mnangagwa was presiding.

"He has gone to Independence celebration to show that ED (Emmerson Dambudzo) is tolerant and accommodating of opposition," Mwonzora writes to Moyo on April 19, 2018.

Earlier, in February, Mwonzora had asked Moyo: "Is it true that RGM (Robert Gabriel Mugabe) is behind Chamisa?"

Moyo answered that it was "the biggest lie."

On March 30, according to screenshots of the chat, the then MDC-T secretary tells Moyo that Chamisa is demanding state security aides, and also "wants to receive security briefs from CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation)."

This was in the context of a meeting that Mwonzora claimed Chamisa was planning to have with Mnangagwa.

Following the death of MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018, a succession war erupted between Chamisa and his co-deputies Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe.

Chamisa corralled the party's National Council to endorse him as leader, with Mwonzora and Mudzuri begrudgingly embracing his elevation. Khupe maintained that she was the legitimate interim leader as the only vice president voted by a congress held four years previously, whereas Chamisa and Mudzuri were drafted in by Tsvangirai in 2016.

Mwonzora's bitterness was evident on April 12, three months before the election, as he told Moyo: "I really want to fight this guy."

The secretary general's plan was to "field my team for parliament and local government" while preparing for the MDC-T congress in 2019 where he was sure "I will definitely win, I have the majority."

"Can you help find a sponsor?" he asked Moyo, who answers that he has been "exploring options, possibilities and scenarios."

The chats also expose that the two men – both without political power – subsequently discussed a "Grand National Union," details of which remain unclear.

Chamisa forged a coalition with smaller opposition parties and ran in the July 2018 election as leader of the MDC Alliance. He lost narrowly as Mnangagwa avoided a run-off election by 35,000 votes, according to official results. Chamisa maintains that the election was rigged, and that Mnangagwa is illegitimate.

Chamisa, still leader of the MDC-T, invited his coalition partners to a congress in 2019 where the MDC Alliance formally became a political party.

The coalition was however shaken in March 2020 when the Supreme Court upheld a judgement of the High Court that Chamisa's and Mudzuri's appointments as vice presidents by Tsvangirai in 2016 were unconstitutional, and Khupe was the legitimate MDC-T leader pending a congress.

Mwonzora, Mudzuri and Khupe – who ran in 2018 as leader of MDC-T and won a paltry 50,000 votes –seized on the judgement and declared that they were convening an extraordinary congress to elect new leaders, but Chamisa boycotted, insisting that his party was MDC Alliance.

The High Court subsequently ruled that parties that ran as a coalition in 2018 had power to recall their former members from their elected positions, clearing the way for Mwonzora – who beat Khupe and Mudzuri in the MDC-T leadership race – to begin purging disloyal former MDC-T members who won as MPs, Senators and councillors.

Mwonzora's decimation of the MDC Alliance in parliament delighted Zanu-PF. Mnangagwa met the new MDC-T leader last week during which Mwonzora allegedly begged for by-elections to remain suspended, fearing that some of the elected representatives he recalled will be returned in the by-elections, exposing his lack of popular support.

Tweeted Moyo on Thursday: "On April 19, 2018, you said Nelson Chamisa ‘has gone to the Independence celebration to show that ED is tolerant and accommodating of opposition'. You are worse Mwonzora, you've recalled MDC-A MPs for Mnangagwa and gone to State House to beg him to stop by-elections. Hypocrite!"

Mwonzora has not denied the authenticity of the WhatsApp exchanges.  When a Twitter user asked him about the messages, he responded with laughing emojis.

Source - zimlive