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MDC reaches breaking point

by Staff reporter
04 Jun 2020 at 17:54hrs | Views
THE MDC's latest ructions have now reached a point of no return, after the party's interim leadership expelled Nelson Chamisa from the movement - in a development that could have far-reaching implications on the future of the country's opposition.

The expulsion means that Chamisa no longer has the option to contest the party's leadership at its extraordinary congress that is tentatively scheduled for July 31 - effectively leaving him with no other choice but to form his own party if he still has political ambitions.

This comes as both former MDC stalwarts and analysts have warned the party's brawling leaders that their mindless wars will gift the ruling Zanu-PF another victory in the 2023 elections.

It also comes as more and more MDC legislators are defying the MDC Alliance's decree that they disengage from Parliament, in protest at the recent recall of four MPs from the august House by the Thokozani Khupe-led interim leadership.

In a confirmed letter to Chamisa dated June 1, Khupe summarily dismissed the charismatic politician from the MDC for allegedly violating the party's constitutional provisions.

This follows a March Supreme Court ruling which annulled Chamisa's hotly-disputed ascendancy to the leadership of the MDC following the death of its much-loved founding father, Morgan Tavangirai, in February 2018.

The Supreme Court ruling meant that Chamisa had, on paper, reverted to being the secretary for policy and research in the party - the position he held before Tsvangirai unilaterally elevated him and Elias Mudzuri to the MDC presidium.

"The latest incident is when on 21 May, 2020 you issued a communication to the effect that you had, in your capacity as the president of the MDC Alliance party, made certain appointments and redeployments to the party's national standing committee.

"You could only have made these appointments as president of the party other than the party referred to in the Supreme Court judgement.

"In terms of clause 5.10 (a) of the constitution of the MDC … by your joining or forming another party, you have automatically terminated your membership of the MDC … led by Tsvangirai…

"You are, therefore, ordered to vacate the party's headquarters at 44 Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare with immediate effect," Khupe wrote to Chamisa on Monday.

Khupe's spokesperson, Khaliphani Phugeni, confirmed the development to the Daily News yesterday.

"On the issue of Chamisa, he has expelled himself as a result of his intransigence in the face of the Supreme Court judgement," Phugeni said.

This comes after Chamisa announced several changes to the top echelons of the MDC Alliance a fortnight ago - a party he claims is not the same as the MDC left by Tsvangirai.

It also comes as Chamisa and his allies have appeared to be in significant disarray over the past few months, ever since the Supreme Court ruled the charismatic politician's hotly-disputed ascendancy to the leadership of the country's main opposition to have been illegal and, therefore, null and void.

Adding to the escalating pressure on Chamisa was last Friday's High Court ruling which dismissed an application filed by his allies seeking an order to stop Khupe from recalling more party MPs from Parliament.

This came after the Khupe group successfully recalled Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana), Tabitha Khumalo (MDC proportional representative), Prosper Mutseyami (Dangamvura) and Midlands senator Lillian Timveos from Parliament recently, as it flexed its muscles and demonstrated that it is fully in charge of the beleaguered party for now.

Meanwhile, more MDC MPs continue to defy Chamisa's directive to withdraw from Parliament by attending its business.
Yesterday, close to 20 legislators attended parliamentary sittings.

Among them was former Cabinet minister in the government of national unity (GNU), Tapiwa Mashakada - who, however, insisted that he still supported Chamisa, but had to respect the people who voted him into office by representing them in the august House.

"We met as MDC Alliance and decided to come back to Parliament. We were elected by the people. So, we came back to occupy our democratic space.

"You can ask Chalton Hwende and he can confirm that. I am still secretary for research and policy in the MDC Alliance," he said.
However, Hwende said Mashakada and the MPs who attended parliament yesterday had sold out.

"Mashakada is lying. Our position is very clear. Those MPs who decided to side with Khupe are exercising their constitutional right," Hwende told the Daily News.

Both Chamisa and Khupe have been criticised for failing to heal their rift and focusing on the failures of Zanu-PF - whose incompetent handling of the economy has stirred anger among long suffering Zimbabweans.

Last week, former MDC chairperson Lovemore Moyo said pointedly that the current brawling between Chamisa and Khupe had "absolutely nothing to do with serving the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe".
"The fight between the two formations is purely a power struggle. It's about fighting for control of the soul of the MDC and president Morgan Tsvangirai's political legacy.
"More importantly, it's about who is who in the MDC leadership," the now leader of the United Movement for Devolution said.

"Unfortunately, there is no winner in the on-going political fight as the two parties will significantly lose the opposition vote, supporters and credibility.

"Actually, Zanu-PF will emerge the biggest winner as it stands from a divided and unco-ordinated opposition come the 2023 general elections.

"Remember, the 2005 MDC split set a wrong precedent that one can disregard the party constitution, regulations and rules and still remain in charge of the party," Moyo said further.

"In this regard, weak party structures capitulated and supported Tsvangirai in defying the national council decision on the Senate participation.

"However, it must be noted that Tsvangirai went on to build a strong and vibrant MDC that performed exceptionally well in elections," the soft spoken former Matobo legislator said.

"My advice is very simple. Put the interests of the people of Zimbabwe first. Your personal egos and interests will always be accommodated if you deliver electoral victory in plebiscites.

"What you are doing to yourselves, tearing each other apart, especially on social media, makes Zanu-PF smile. Focus on the ball.

"None of the two parties is holding the ball. It's Zanu-PF that is currently holding and playing the ball," Moyo added.

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Source - Daily News