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Chamisa's allies call Mwonzora to order

by Staff reporter
05 Apr 2019 at 16:30hrs | Views
The opposition MDC has called its secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora to order over his recent comments to the media in defiance of the party's position regarding its much anticipated May congress.

Since the party announced the congress dates serious factional mudslinging ensued amid indications that party leader Nelson Chamisa will be contested by his deputy Elias Mudzuri and secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora

In a bid to contain the simmering tensions that have led to violence during the on-going restructuring exercise, the party agreed in principle that senior leaders, other than the MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume, would not speak to the press regarding the congress preparations.

But Mwonzora has been all over the media in the last few weeks giving interviews on the congress developments including declaring his readiness to take over from Chamisa in a development that has miffed other party bigwigs. Sources in the MDC national standing committee said a stern warning was sent to Mwonzora for stubbornly defying the party position.

The sources said the intransigent Mwonzora was given a warning during Wednesday's national standing committee meeting to comply with the directive; failure of which he will face disciplinary action after a peeved party vice president Welshman Ncube raised the issue.

Mafume confirmed the development saying the party had re-stated its position regarding its media policy on congress issues.

"It is basic that all our leaders are ready to lead anytime but the fact is that it is not in our culture to canvass for leadership positions because it is the people who nominate leaders so it was felt that it is wrong for one to appear to be launching a campaign prematurely," Mafume said.

Mwonzora's behaviour, Mafume added, prompted the party to task national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo to come up with a code of conduct template to guide the conduct of aspiring candidates.

"It was reaffirmed that any future violations will come with serious consequences because it was realised that some are even coming up with campaign posters even when they have not been nominated for any position," Mafume added.

Before the start of the meeting of the party honchos, a standing committee member said, Chamisa and Mwonzora had met privately where the issue was discussed at length. "The president had also raised his concern with Mwonzora privately but the issue was raised again during the meeting by VP Ncube who appeared angered by the behaviour of our SG.

"He (Ncube) made it clear that he was peeved by Mwonzora's conduct especially what he said to the press that Tsvangirai was turning in his grave and that he declared himself ready to take over as president even before the floor has been opened for campaigns," the official said adding that on his part Mwonzora did not attempt to defend himself.

Last week, Mwonzora told the Daily News's sister paper the Daily News on Sunday that he has the capacity to lead the country's biggest opposition political party if the structures nominate him to contest for that position at the MDC congress to run from May 24 to 26.

It will be the first congress since the death of the MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai who died of colon cancer on February 14, last year. Tsvangirai's death saw one of his three deputies, Nelson Chamisa emerge as MDC leader, albeit under controversial circumstances.

Going into the elective congress, Chamisa is touted as the front runner. But Mwonzora threw down the gauntlet during the interview, saying he has previously scored more wins than losses - a feat he said makes him more than suitable for any position within the party.

Asked if he has what it takes to be the party's president, Mwonzora said: "I have been a leader in the MDC at various levels.

Having started as the treasurer for Nyanga District, I was elevated to secretary for Local Government for Manicaland Province. In 2008, I was elected to represent Members of Parliament in the national council of the party.  "In 2011, I was elected as the national spokesperson of the party at congress. In 2014, I was elected as the secretary-general of the party. I think I served well in my positions".

He went on further to give a detailed account of how he joined politics as early as 1989, while he was still a law student.

Mwonzora was instrumental in the formation of the National Constitutional Assembly, which fought for a new democratic people-driven Constitution.

He also said among other major roles he was involved in the drafting of the current Constitution. "I therefore do not think that I lack capacity at all," Mwonzora said.

Mwonzora is being accused of working with Zanu-PF to destroy the MDC from within but he has challenged his rivals to prove their allegations saying they only meant to frighten and dissuade him from contesting certain positions.

Source - dailynews