HARARE – MDC leader Nelson Chamisa last weekend rescued his beleaguered deputy Elias Mudzuri whom party officials wanted booted out.
The MDC convened meetings of its three top organs, the standing committee, the executive committee and the national council last weekend, where agitation for Mudzuri’s ouster reached fever pitch.
Mudzuri’s rivals were pushing the MDC national council, which has the power to demand that the Harvard-trained engineer step down, take action against the man also girding his loins to challenge Chamisa in the 2019 congress.
MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said in a statement after the meeting that the conclave “noted the allegations against vice president Mudzuri’s conduct and resolved that the matter be dealt with by the presidium”.
While Mafume did not give details of what took place in the heated Saturday meeting, authoritative sources told the Daily News that Chamisa gave Mudzuri a “stay of execution.”
The motion to de-stool Mudzuri was reportedly raised by Masvingo province.
Chamisa, the insider said, told his party’s national council that it would be unfair to discuss Mudzuri’s case whilst he was absent.
“It was Masvingo provincial secretary Tichinani Mavetere who raised the issue complaining that Mudzuri was destabilising the province after he sent his team led by Denis Murira and Silas Mangono to hold meetings at Nyanda Lodge to campaign for him ahead of congress.
“They also wanted the party to call Mudzuri to order for his attendance of Mnangagwa’s meeting but it was Chamisa who personally said it was not proper,” a national executive member said on condition of anonymity.
“Chamisa told the national council that he had told Mudzuri — who had complained that he was being abused by the party supporters — to put his complaints in writing which he has not done yet, hence it will be unfair to discuss the matter now,” the official said.
Mudzuri, along with Chamisa was installed VP just after the 2014 MDC congress through an edict by the now late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
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 is 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.
Mudzuri has not been attending party meetings including last week’s national standing committee, national executive as well as the Saturday national council meeting citing his safety.
Explaining his absence from party activities, Mudzuri recently told the Daily News that was on holiday and hence 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.