There is a credible challenge to MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa ahead of the May congress. Douglas Mwonzora — who retains a solid core of support and whose campaign paved the way for him to beat Chamisa in the watershed 2016 congress — has said he might run for the MDC presidency.
There is a sense that Chamisa enjoys extremely high approval ratings among the MDC faithful, and a sense they are not likely to desert him for anyone else, but Mwonzora must be allowed to run freely and fairly without vilification, innuendo or attempts to brand him a Zanu PF Trojan Horse.
Elias Mudzuri, who has long set his sights on the presidency, is not interested in being a sacrificial donkey and is seemingly disclaiming interest if his silence is anything to go by. He knows the opprobrium he endured from challenging Chamisa, the rally boos, the “tengesa uone mashura” threats. If the MDC Alliance upholds democracy, Mwonzora must be allowed to run without all this unnecessary controversy.
There is no need for all this maximum anger being conveyed against Dougie, a name his allies call him with, which in some instance is carrying with it an implicit threat to harm him.
The venom being directed against Mwonzora will certainly create the type of distractions that the MDC Alliance does not need. It will lead to disaster.
Of course, a challenge for Chamisa is a cold shower of sorts. But if Chamisa is indeed a democrat, he must call off his dogs. If Chamisa is strong enough, there is nothing to fear.
There is absolutely no need to marginalise Mwonzora. The Zanu PF youth leader Lewis Matutu, who did some scenario-building about the election in the MDC, was just giving his opinion, which for all we care, has nothing to do with Dougie.
Of course, Chamisa’s predecessor, the legendary Morgan Tsvangirai, never faced intra-party challengers since he founded the movement in 1999. But there is absolutely no need for this unnecessary moment of frisson in the race. Also weighty is the principle of fear: there is no need to threaten Dougie.
Challenging Chamisa must be acceptable. The MDC leader must keep a close watch on his political activists.
Mwonzora is a credible candidate. All he needs to do is to come up with a convincing argument why he thinks he is the best man to take the party forward