HARARE – MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has appealed to his internal party rivals seeking to challenge his position saying it is too early as he is yet to finish the task his predecessor, the late party founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, gave him.
Chamisa rose to the MDC presidency after Tsvangirai’s death in February amid an acrimonious power struggle with Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri, both who also claimed to be legitimate heirs to the throne.
The three claimants to the MDC presidency were all Tsvangirai’s deputies.
The power struggle that ensued after Tsvangirai succumbed to cancer of the colon led to the third MDC split with Khupe forming her own political outfit while Mudzuri decided to hang on and fight from within.
With the MDC congress coming next year, jostling for top positions has since begun in earnest with Mudzuri and party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora reportedly angling to challenge Chamisa.
Addressing party supporters during MDC’s 19th anniversary celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium last week, Chamisa sought to contain the duo’s ambitions by emphasising the need to be united.
“I have told my colleagues in the top leadership that none of us should go wayward because it will be akin to a fish taking itself out of water where it cannot survive. So, we need to continue to follow Tsvangirai’s way, the party’s ways.
“Tsvangirai left power for me so that I will also pave way for the next leader in that order. We don’t want a situation whereby someone would want to grab from me what I was given by Tsvangirai before I even start the journey he set me to embark on yet you don’t even know what he wanted me to achieve.
“Why don’t you wait for me to accomplish that first then I will also show you the way when you eventually take over?” he asked rhetorically.
Meanwhile, Chamisa defended his decision to fire elected mayors in three municipalities saying they were compromised after receiving support from the ruling Zanu PF.
Since the mayoral elections held last month, Chamisa has fired mayors from Victoria Falls, Chegutu and Masvingo and, suspended over 10 councillors on allegations of
bringing MDC into disrepute and ridicule by defying party’s directives amongst other charges.
Addressing party supporters who thronged Gwanzura Stadium to commemorate MDC’s 19th anniversary on Saturday, Chamisa justified the move, saying the fired mayors were not the candidates chosen by the party and supporters.
“Some say Chamisa is firing mayors but let me explain the circumstances. We chose mayors by way of interviewing prospective candidates as well as asking residents.
“We came up with our own candidates but some of our councillors chose to do as they please and elected candidates that were backed by Zanu PF.
“We then saw that we can’t have mayors who dance to the tune of Zanu PF hence our decision to fire them.”
Last week, Chamisa fired Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dlamini over allegations of bringing the MDC into disrepute by defying party’s directives, causing divisions amongst other charges.
His expulsion came a day after the 40-year-old MDC leader relieved Chegutu mayor Henry Muchatibaya of his duties and suspended six councillors for defying a directive on the mayoral elections.
Masvingo mayor Collin Chiboke was also ordered by the opposition leader to step down over the same allegations levelled against Dlamini and Muchatibaya.