via Chamisa faces MDC-T ouster – NewsDay October 20, 2015
FRESH fissures have rocked the main opposition MDC-T amid reports that some hawks aligned to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai were pushing for the ouster of Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa accusing him of building a separate war chest to challenge for the party presidency in the 2018 elections.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Chamisa, who until last year’s MDC-T congress had built a strong powerbase as national organising secretary, is now in the eye of the storm, with some senior party officials viewing him as a major threat to Tsvangirai’s leadership.
Chamisa’s rivals have reportedly hatched a plan to set him up against Tsvangirai to “fast-track” his expulsion from the party.
Party sources said tension swelled two weeks ago when Chamisa received a hero’s welcome at the burial of the late Nkulumane legislator Thamsanqa Mahlangu in Bulawayo.
Tsvangirai and several other top MDC-T officials boycotted the event saying they did not want to be seen taking sides with any of the three families fighting over Mahlangu’s body.
Chamisa yesterday declined to comment over the issue.
“Sorry, I am not at liberty to discuss internal party issues with the media,” he said curtly.
A few weeks ago, Chamisa challenged Tsvangirai that instead of looking for consipracy theories, leaders should be focused on strengthening the party after the MDC-T leader reportedly addressed party supporters in Chitungwiza and accused the Kuwadzana legislator of plotting to
wrest power from him.
The intra-party clashes that occurred in Highfield, Harare, at the weekend have also been cited as part of efforts to build a strong case to justify plans to axe Chamisa from the party.
The violence broke out following an address by MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, seen as one of Chamisa’s bitter rivals.
The hawks were said to be using any public gathering to incite against and attack those they claim to be fighting Tsvangirai and boot them out.
“There is a plot to have Chamisa either fired from the party or have him leaving on his own.
There were meetings last week on Thursday and Saturday, one of them a provincial assembly meeting, where there was an order from the leaders that people aligned to Chamisa be dealt with,” an insider said.
“Some in the party feel threatened and want to rope in Tsvangirai and set him up against Chamisa.”
But MDC-T Harare provincial chairman Eric Murayi denied the existence of a plot to purge anyone.
“You only get divisions in Zanu PF, not the MDC,” he said.
“It is true that we had the provincial assembly meeting and [Morgan] Femai and [Morgen] Komichi addressed it. We, however, have a problem with people who tend to take issues out of context.
There are no divisions in the MDC.”
Many who attended the meetings however, said Chamisa’s name was mentioned and he was cited as one of the officials suspected to be gunning for Tsvangirai’s post.
“Femai addressed a meeting, where he claimed he had been sent by Tsvangirai to deal with people who wanted to take over the party by 2018,” another source said.
“The truth of the matter is they want to set up Chamisa against Tsvangirai. Their fears are futuristic. If they deal with Chamisa by blackmailing him and say to Tsvangirai he was working to topple him, they create mistrust between the two.”
Femai was not immediately available for comment, but Murayi, though confirming the meetings, denied there was mention of infighting and the need to expel anyone from the party.
Chamisa’s loyalists have vowed to block any attempts to kick him out of the party.
“Chamisa is not going anywhere, he is a founding member of the party and loyal to the party and its leader, but the campaign is to put a wedge between him and the president,” another insider said.
The sources also said that the MDC-T fights began ahead of congress, where Chamisa was tipped to be secretary-general ahead of Mwonzora before tables were turned in dramatic fashion.
The violence at the Highfield rally started off as a question to councillor Wilton Njanjazi, the chairperson for the informal sector committee, over the confiscation of vendors’ wares by council police.
“After the rally, the youths started fighting over the Njanjazi issue and during the melee, there was mention of factions and fears that one faction was using rallies to attack the other.
“Others are abusing their positions to attack some in the party. Those in positions are determined to have others chucked out of the party, but that will be resisted,” the source said.
Both Murayi and Njanjazi confirmed the skirmishes, but declined to comment on reports that the clashes were part of the factional fights in the MDC-T.