HARARE – The MDC will decide at a special meeting tomorrow the fate of vice president Elias Mudzuri, who is under mounting pressure to step down.
The meeting of the national council, which has the power to demand that the Harvard-trained engineer step down, raises the prospect of a decisive showdown with a man girding his loins to challenge Nelson Chamisa in the 2019 congress.
The party’s highest decision-making body outside congress, the national council, will deliberate on the issue during its last meeting of the year in Harare.
Mudzuri was installed VP just after the 2014 MDC congress through an edict by the now late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Mudzuri was installed VP together with Chamisa.
Knives are out for Mudzuri after he angered MDC officials and party supporters for attending a meeting of Parliament leaders with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his State House offices.
The MDC are on record saying they do not recognise Mnangagwa as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe, alleging he stole the July 30 presidential poll.
Mudzuri attended the State House meeting in his capacity as the leader of the opposition in the Senate. However, his colleagues in the National Assembly and Senate snubbed the meeting.
Furious fellow MDC MPs, among them Charlton Hwende and Murisi Zwizwai angrily confronted Mudzuri at a local hotel in the capital over the issue.
Following the meeting with Mnangagwa, Mudzuri was later forced to leave an MDC demonstration gathering at Africa Unity Square in a huff after being booed off stage by opposition supporters at a Harare rally.
Mudzuri was forced to abort his address, as tempers flared over his meeting with Mnangagwa.
In the end, and very ominously for him, he failed to even chant the party’s slogans, as his voice was drowned out by the heckling from the rowdy crowd — which broke into a derogatory song “tengesa uone mashura” (just sell out and see what will happen). As a result, an emotional Mudzuri had to leave the venue altogether.
Since then pressure has been mounting for the former Harare mayor, who is said to be eyeing to challenge Chamisa for the MDC presidency at the party congress next year to resign.
MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume told the Daily News that all Mudzuri needed to do was to “do things that will stop the booing.”
“It is natural that supporters either cheer or boo their leaders and senior party leaders know that all they need to do is to act in a manner that will turn the jeers into cheers because for now the party is focused on the debilitating economic meltdown in the country,” Mafume said.
While Mafume tried to play down the agitation in the party, insiders say even Mudzuri himself wants the matter to be resolved once and for all.
Mudzuri, the well-placed sources said, has not been attending party functions of late including the last national standing committee meeting arguing that he needs to have his name cleared first.
“He also did not attend a meeting that was held by the president (Chamisa) with district and provincial chairpersons for the same reason. The president acknowledged that the matter needs to be resolved so the national council meeting provides the right platform,” a national standing committee member said on condition of anonymity.
The MDC youth assembly has been on the forefront demanding that Mudzuri be axed from the party for his alleged transgressions.
Youth assembly secretary-general Lovemore Chinoputsa said party youths are looking forward to the national council in the hope that the matter will be raised.
“We expect that to be discussed because as you know we have formally complained as a wing that we are not happy with his conduct hence we look forward to the national council determining whether he was wrong or right,” Chinoputsa said, adding “we, however, as the youths are not calling for his expulsion from the party but that the truth be established as to why he behaved like that.”
On his part, Mudzuri said he was on holiday and was not prepared to discuss the matter.
“My children are all here and we are holidaying so just leave me alone. I did not attend the meeting (with provincial chairpersons) because I am on holiday and I will come to attend party meetings when I want,” Mudzuri said.