by Own Correspondent
Last week, there were media reports to the effect that MDC Alliance leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa had ordered the assault of a 76 year old member of his MDC-T faction, Mr. Crispa Musoni.
The fracas is reported to have started when Chamisa told an MDC Alliance rally at Maungwa business center in Gutu that he preferred Multi-Christian Democrats (MCD) member, Mr Ernest Mandigo to stand on the MDC Alliance Gutu Central parliamentary ticket in this month’s election ahead of Musoni who was elected during party primaries.
In trying to get an understanding of why Chamisa had made an about turn with regards to his candidature, Musoni was assaulted by Chamisa's bodyguards.
If one may ask, why would Chamisa prefer an MCD candidate ahead of one from the MDC-T faction which gave him the political stamina to dictate what goes in the Alliance, and also taking into consideration that in some instances he replaced candidates from other Alliance partners with those from his faction citing lack of grassroots support?
Relatedly, why did the leadership of Chamisa’s MDC-T faction approve nomination papers for some national assembly aspiring candidates outside the selection processes conducted by party districts – resulting in the Alliance fielding two candidates in 14 constituencies – where Chamisa now impose whoever he prefers among the two?
And lastly, why was Musoni assaulted?
To fully comprehend all this, one has to take into account that Chamisa came to the helm of his faction through an internal coup. The latter did not afford other contenders for Tsvangirai’s position a Congress – probably fearing a repeat of the MDC-T Secretary General race at the November 2014 National Congress.
In 2014, Douglas Mwonzora, then National Secretary for Information, with just a single provincial nomination upstaged Chamisa, then National Organizing Secretary, 11 times better by 2 464 votes to 1756 votes in the race for MDC-T secretary general – a position Mwonzora still holds albeit under Chamisa’s MDC-T faction.
Analysts attributed Chamisa’s defeat to lack of grassroots support. It was argued that many delegates at the said Congress attribute the party’s defeat by Zanu PF in the 2013 elections to Chamisa’s failure to professionally handle the party structures. Chamisa was also accused of rigging the nomination process by imposing his friends (during the reformation of party structures after the second split) into lower structures that fed delegates to the Congress.
The long and short of it is that, four years ago, the current MDC-T structures preferred Mwonzora ahead of Chamisa citing the latter’s dictatorial tendencies. The question now is, if Chamisa had not staged an internal coup, would the same structures have chosen Chamisa ahead of Mwonzora in the event of a Congress and Mwonzora throwing his hat in the ring for Tsvangirai’s position – NO!
For Chamisa, the fight is not about 30 July 2018, whose result is likely to mirror that of 3 November 2014 for the same reasons – alienating the electorate through dictatorial tendencies – but leadership of the opposition movement after this month’s election.
Mwonzora pose the greatest threat to Chamisa’s leadership of MDC-T after election. The party’s grassroots still has a low opinion of Chamisa who they regard as childish and great respect for Mwonzora whom they regard as level headed.
In order to deal with his lack of appeal at grassroots level, Chamisa has riveted to his pre – 2013 election antics – imposition of candidates. This time it is meant to create a group of parliamentarians that are loyal to him, who will help endear the grassroots to Chamisa in the event that he has to fight for the leadership of his party – a development certainly on the cards.
As for Musoni, he just happened to be standing in the way of Chamisa’s bid to secure his political life after the election – no cooked up explanation of Chamisa’s endorsement of Mandigo could have sufficed – he had to be dealt with.