‘Dirty money’ ravages MDC 

Source: ‘Dirty money’ ravages MDC – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      9 November 2018

HARARE – Fresh fissures have emerged in opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s
MDC – amid damaging allegations of heightened factionalism and the use of
“dirty money” to destabilise the party, the Daily News can report.

This comes as Chamisa appeared to pull the rug from under the feet of his
party rivals yesterday after he announced that the main opposition’s much
anticipated congress – which was due to be held in March next year – would
now only be held between October and December.

It also comes as the process to choose a new substantive leader for the
party – following the death of its much-loved founding president Morgan
Tsvangirai early this year – continues to prove hugely divisive.

Party insiders said yesterday that Chamisa’s move to postpone the holding
of the planned elective congress to later next year had “greatly angered”
his rivals who wished to contest him for the presidency.

Chamisa, who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the
hotly-disputed July 30 presidential election, assumed the reins of the MDC
in contested circumstances following Tsvangirai’s death in February.

“There is dirty money circulating … we know all this and some are now
campaigning, but these are premature campaigns,” MDC spokesperson Jacob
Mafume told the Daily News yesterday.

“The fact is, the date for our congress is between October to December
next year. We had our last congress in 2014, so the congress is not due
yet by any imagination.

“We know that there are some people who are being sponsored by Zanu PF to
destabilise the party through early congress calls,” he added.

But party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora – who, it is claimed, is
backing the party’s vice president Elias Mudzuri to take on Chamisa when
the internal leadership elections take place – appeared to have been taken
by surprise by Mafume’s statement on the congress.

“Is this what Mafume said? Let me check with him and I will come back to
you,” he said.

Mwonzora not only beat Chamisa for the secretary-general’s position in
2014, but has also regularly clashed with him – including over the manner
of the interim leader’s ascendancy to the MDC’s leadership, which led to
yet another split of the party ahead of the July 30 polls.

Chamisa himself recently used the party’s 19th anniversary celebrations to
warn his rivals against pushing for an early congress.

“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,” Chamisa said.

This came after Chamisa outfoxed long-time MDC vice president Thokozani
Khupe and Mudzuri in the battle to control the MDC after Tsvangirai fell
gravely ill.

Then Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, announced that his boss
had appointed the youthful politician to lead the party while he was
receiving treatment for
colon cancer in neighbouring South Africa.

The deadly illness eventually took the former labour union leader’s life
on Valentine’s Day this year.

Khupe subsequently led a breakaway faction which contested the July
national elections separately after Chamisa got the backing of key party
structures, as well as members of the MDC Alliance, to lead the coalition
in the plebiscite ahead of her and Mudzuri.

Meanwhile, political analysts said yesterday that Chamisa’s management of
the congress needed to be consistent with the party’s democratic
aspirations if major ructions were not to follow.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said
the sudden change of dates of the MDC’s congress was either a sign of lack
of resources or fear of losing the internal poll by the Chamisa camp.

“When you postpone something, it suggests a lack of preparedness … which
can include inadequate resources. It can also mean that he (Chamisa)
doesn’t have enough confidence to conquer his rivals.

“He may need more time to prepare … and may also want to consolidate his
popular base before the congress.

“But he is suffering from legitimacy deficit which he is accusing
Mnangagwa of. He is also feeling that pressure from his own party,”
Masunungure said.

Another political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, warned Chamisa against
violating the party’s democratic tenets.

“Look at that (shifting of congress dates) as a portentous political
manoeuvre in a democratic movement founded on principles and tenets of
democracy. In democratic
institutions, leaders are elected by the people.

“A democrat would not want to stay in power a day longer without due
electoral process and a mandate from the party members.

“I think pushing the dates as he did is meant to achieve two things. The
first one is to completely change party structures and get rid of people
like Mudzuri and Mwonzora who are being touted as potential challengers.

“Secondly, the idea could be to align his elected term with national
elections. Our next general elections are in 2023 and then 2028.

“So, his move could be to ensure that he remains an undoubted Alliance
presidential candidate for both 2023 and 2028. If he is elected Alliance
president at the end of 2019, it means his first term ends in 2024 and his
second term ends in 2029.

“This means 2023 and 2028 are covered. He will be the Alliance president
during both elections. This has hallmarks of a lack of democracy, in a
political outfit founded on the need for democracy in our national
governance,” Saungweme said.