By Bevan Musoko
There are simmering tensions in the MDC faction led by Nelson Chamisa over the contestations for elective posts as the party prepares for its 5th elective Congress since its formation in 1999. A faction aligned to Chamisa is lobbying for the postponement of the congress from the scheduled February/March 2019 to later in the year, around October 2018 amid accusations by other members that Chamisa is seeking to delay the watershed congress to consolidate his position. This is against the background of questions surrounding the legitimacy of Chamisa’s assumption of the MDC leadership following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018.
Chamisa stands accused of seeking to delay the Congress to buy time to consolidate his position against his perceived internal rivals. He is further scheming that, if the Congress is held in October 2018 and he wins the party presidency, his term at the helm of the party would end around 2023, by which time the country’s harmonised elections would have been held around July 2023. So according to this scheme, holding the Congress in October 2018 assures him of being the party’s presidential candidate in 2023. So the plot is all about saving Chamisa’s political interests as opposed to serving the interests of the party’s general membership.
Another bone of contention is the expected candidature of current Secretary General, Douglas Mwonzora, for the position of party president. Chamisa and his lackeys are on record declaring that the position of party president would not be contested, as Chamisa is expected to continue leading. On the other hand, other members are of the view that all positions should be contested as per the party Constitution’s provisions. Mwonzora recently declared that “I know as a member of the party that I can contest for any post. I’m allowed to contest over any position….”
It is against this position that hawks supporting Chamisa are plotting to suspend Mwonzora accusing him of being disloyal to the party leader, an accusation which Mwonzora responded to in his interview with a local newspaper. Mwonzora clarified that “number one, I am loyal to the cause; number two, I am loyal to the party” which by extension he claimed that he was loyal to Chamisa.
If indeed the MDC is as democratic as it claims, all party members should be allowed to contest for any position of their choice, subject to the support they enjoy among the grassroots membership. Declaring individuals as uncontested leaders outside the parameters of the Constitution on the strength of threats of expulsion or suspension is as undemocratic as the initial imposition of Chamisa using a dubious National Council resolution.