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MDC fissures widen, supporters brawl

by Staff reporter
11 Mar 2020 at 19:08hrs | Views
THE ructions consuming the MDC are escalating, resulting in under pressure party leader Nelson Chamisa now telling his disgruntled comrades to leave the party if they so wish, while his restless supporters bashed each other in strife-torn Masvingo last weekend, the Daily News reports.

This comes as the MDC is still struggling to heal the rifts that were caused by Chamisa's contested ascendancy to the party's leadership in 2018, following the death of its much-loved founding father Morgan Tsvangirai — who succumbed to cancer of the colon on Valentine's Day that year.

It also comes as the MDC is witnessing growing chaos and factionalism within its structures — some of which has readily been admitted to by the party itself and ascribed to leadership incompetence.

Now, and amid the party's mindless bloodletting, Chamisa has come out guns blazing — telling his disgruntled lieutenants to leave the country's biggest opposition party if they so wish.

Speaking through his spokesperson Nkululelo Sibanda yesterday, Chamisa also denied that there was factionalism in the party — although admitting to the fact that some of the party's leaders might be Trojan horses that were being used by outsiders to "create a non-existent reality".

"These people are creating a crisis yet there is no crisis. There is a danger that some of our leaders are being used to create a non-existent reality.

"We have people who are lying to Zanu-PF that they could destabilise the party.

"But I can tell you that people are missing the point because there is no factionalism in the MDC. There is no one who can challenge the president and some of the people involved are small fish,"ibanda told the Daily News.

"The door is wide open for people to leave. In the MDC we encourage people to resign, and if a person resigns that does not make it a crisis.

"However, it should be noted that the president is a unifying leader who believes in sharing ideas," he added.

On his part, MDC secretary-general Chalton Hwende — who stands accused as being among the bigwigs that are working to hound out some of the party's long-serving senior officials — said it had to be appreciated that the party led by Chamisa was different from the one founded by Tsvangirai.

"We are now the MDC Alliance. It is clear that these are two different entities from the MDC-T, and those who want to leave are free to leave.

"We had our congress and people in the MDC Alliance expressed themselves freely. Those who want to leave can leave," he said.

An MDC national executive committee member who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said at the heart of the party's ructions was the impending Supreme Court ruling — which was lodged by supporters of the opposition party's former vice president Thokozani Khupe, who is seeking to have the court nullify Chamisa's initial appointment by Tsvangirai as one of its other vice presidents.

This comes after the High Court ruled last year that Chamisa's elevation to lead the MDC was illegal — throwing the cat among the pigeons in the party.

Other well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that the party's respected former secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, and its long serving ex-vice president post Tsvangirai's death Morgen Komichi, were among officials who now risked being booted out of the troubled party.

"Mukoma Dougie (Mwonzora) and Komichi are especially disliked by the powerful interests that are now at the helm in the party.

"Tragically, part of this mob that is now lynching these poor fellows in the alleged service of Chamisa were rabidly anti-Chamisa in the recent past, and also enthusiastically wanted a pact with ED (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) even though they are saying the opposite things today.

"The other problems are that of financial accountability and the party's founding values. They (the Chamisa faction) don't want any questions to be asked around finances, and they are now openly disavowing our icon Tsvangirai," one of the sources, a senior party official, said.

"Just follow social media, for example, and you can see for yourself that Zimbabweans don't like what's happening … you cannot say today that Mwonzora and Komichi are infiltrators just because it suits your narrative and selfish agendas.

"The reality is that the party is in a sorry state. When these guys (under attack) were administering the party, it was strong, united and there was accountability.

"Now that these guys (Chamisa group) are in charge, there is chaos … and they fear that if the Supreme Court orders an extra-ordinary congress, they may lose power," the official added.

"Therefore, it is not a surprise that they are seeking to discredit us through people like Jonathan Moyo and other well-known double-crossers who feed social media with their false narratives.

"What is becoming clear also is that they (the Chamisa faction) want to take out the other guys well before any new congress may be held," the source said further.

Approached for a comment, Mwonzora himself refused to comment — citing a recent gag order that was issued against him by Hwende.

"It is better for me not to say anything for now," was all he would say.
On his part, Komichi said there were many "malicious stories (about him) flying around at the moment".

"I am hearing different stories all the time that are simply not true," he said.

The bloodletting in the MDC was further underlined at the weekend after violence marred the party's district elections in the faction-ridden Masvingo province.

MDC national organising secretary, Amos Chibaya, while admitting to the violence, said he would only comment on the incident once he had received a full report from the province.

In February, Chamisa dissolved the party's Masvingo structures claiming that instead of focusing on growth, the province was expending its energies on tribal and factional fights.

The same month, Chamisa indicated that Bulawayo province was also giving him headaches, amid allegations of rampant tribalism there.

The infighting in the MDC reached another notch last week when Mwonzora was gagged by Hwende from issuing statements after he had warned the party against consorting with erstwhile Zanu-PF officials such as Moyo.

This came after Mwonzora had told the Daily News about his fears of former Zanu-PF bigwigs belonging to the vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction destablising the party.

Predictably, party bigwigs took exception to the interview — resulting in the issuance of the warning.
In the interview with the Daily News, Mwonzora warned his MDC colleagues that the party needed to be wary about Zanu-PF's G40 faction kingpins who are worming their way into the ranks of Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party.

This was after some G40 notables recently claimed that they had funded Chamisa and the MDC's 2018 election campaigns — even as some of their grand assertions relating to the funds that they allegedly paid for this appear to be dubious.

It also came after Moyo said that he had met Mwonzora and then MDC treasurer Theresa Makone ahead of the 2018 polls, allegedly at the behest of Tsvangirai.

In addition, Moyo also recently insinuated that Mwonzora was working with a prominent businessman to influence the outcome of a Supreme Court case involving Chamisa and Khupe — relating to the control of the party.
Since the death of Tsvangirai, the MDC has been plagued by endless problems, ranging from rampant factionalism to accusations of tribalism.

When the much-loved former trade union leader died, a vicious power struggle also erupted in the party, which saw Chamisa assuming the reins of the party ahead of his rivals under controversial circumstances.

The titanic leadership battle that subsequently ensued eventually led to Khupe forming a breakaway faction — which went on to perform dismally in the 2018 elections.

Source - dailynews