Mudzuri tackles Tsvangirai

HARARE - Former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri is reportedly in the running for the MDC presidency, although he acknowledges wrestling with whether to run or not given the “political challenges” he might face for attempting to dethrone party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

While MDC officials say Mudzuri was already doing the groundwork for his challenge, the former organising secretary could neither deny nor confirm if he will run for the party’s presidency.

But insiders insisted to the Daily News yesterday that he was preparing to stand for the party presidency and was already laying the ground.

In meetings and public statements ahead of the congress, Mudzuri has presented a united front with Tsvangirai, highlighting their transition from rivals to confidantes.

Yet in the weeks before the congress, insiders have detailed instances of substantive disagreements between the two including the handling of the fall-out between Tsvangirai and expelled secretary general Tendai Biti and his co-conspirators.

Mudzuri’s relationship with Tsvangirai presents a delicate challenge for the former Harare mayor as he rolls out his presidential campaign.

He does not want to appear disloyal to his boss but could use some separation given his anaemic poll numbers.

He would have to have MDC supporters enthusiastically on board a presidential campaign, while fending off attempts to depict him as a rebel.

Mudzuri’s allies dismiss as simplistic the prism through which he is seen as either with Tsvangirai or against him, but insiders are already seizing on any ray of daylight between them, which further complicates his challenge.

Mudzuri described himself as “a politician who is not driven by greed” but the desire to serve the people.

He said instead of thinking about wrestling power from Tsvangirai, he was concentrating more on re-uniting with the Biti faction, now going by the moniker ‘MDC Renewal Team.’

The former Harare mayor said he wanted the party to emerge from the congress with a “winning team” modelled around “people with a national appeal.”

Mudzuri has been snubbing Tsvangirai’s recent campaign rallies.
“I have not been attending these rallies because I feel now is the time to be going underground and work for the benefit of the people,” Mudzuri said.

“I do not want to talk about that (succession) now because people have gone factional and I don’t understand why they have chosen to abandon the national objective.

“For now, Tsvangirai is the leader of the party and we must all respect that leadership. Anyone who thinks otherwise is lost but there are some people who are greedy who want power for the sake of it. I have been trying to bring people together. I am worried, I am pained, probably the most, and I wish we could just go to congress united and not pursue our selfish interests”.

Mudzuri said the call for an early congress had caught him off-guard, suggesting that the party holds its congress in 2016 as previously planned.

That would give him ample time to launch a credible challenge, insiders say.

“I have never been opposed to a congress in 2016 because it gives us time to interrogate ourselves so that we hold a congress that comes out with a national team,” he said.

“We do not want to go to congress and come up with a group that will be labelled to be factional. We want to go there and come up with a national team, modelled around people with a national appeal, having engaged everyone including our rural supporters and national opinion leaders.”

He said divergent opinions were necessary for internal democracy, saying he disagreed with Tsvangirai on several instances but they still co-existed in the party.

“We agree and disagree with the president,” he said. “I offer advice and he takes some and leaves some. That is how it should be. I even suggested to him that he should have left Mangoma and his opinions to burn out under the big tent and meet him at congress. Even Mugabe has his factions but he keeps them around.”

Top sources in the party said Mudzuri has already hit the ground running, coordinating meetings in Harare and other provinces to drum up support for his ascendancy to the top post.

Tsvangirai has invited any challenge to his post, saying congress was the only legal way to claim power.

Luke Tamborinyoka, the MDC leader’s spokesperson, said Tsvangirai and Mudzuri enjoyed a cordial working relationship regardless of reports that the Warren Park legislator was gunning for his throne.

“The president has always made it clear that it is not criminal to aspire for higher office in the party and that includes the presidency,” Tamborinyoka said.

“That is why even after the media reports that Mudzuri wants to be president, the two have gone on to play golf together. It is all because there is nothing criminal about it.”

Tamborinyoka said what was wrong was usurping power by staging palace coups and what he called “confidential letters and memo detats.”

Despite gunning for the top job, observers say Mudzuri lacks a critical mass to mount a serious campaign against the charismatic MDC leader.

With the October congress approaching, jostling for positions in the party has already reached fever-pitch as other potential candidates  are already canvassing for support.

At the last MDC congress in 2011, party organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, who sources say is angling to replace Biti as secretary general, handed Mudzuri a humiliating defeat.

MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora is tipped to battle it out with national executive member Murisi Zwizwai for the post of organising secretary, while Women’s Assembly boss Theresa Makone is reportedly gunning to replace Roy Bennett as treasurer-general.

Thokozani Khupe is set to retain the vice presidency.
The acting secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada has also set his eyes on the treasurer-general’s portfolio, meaning he could square off with Makone.

Chamisa’s deputy Abednico Bhebhe and Thamsanqa Manhlangu, are reportedly eyeing the deputy national chairman post and deputy national organising secretary posts respectively, while former speaker and national chairman Lovemore Moyo will likely retain his post.

Shakespear Mukoyi, Harare provincial youth chairman, reportedly wants to become national youth president to replace Solomon Madzore.

MDC returnees Job Sikhala, Joubert Mudzumwe and Edward Mkhosi will also contest for top positions.

Comments (28)

This is what we call democracy. Viva Mudzuri. You have chosen the right move. Square it up with the most loved and most revered Tsvangison. I like it mate

masaki masaki - 17 June 2014

uku ndokunonzi kufunga kwemurume kwete nhundira mutsime mbiti naboorangima. you will see kuti pavane transparent.

igwe - 17 June 2014

well done thats what we call men. i hope one day biti will understand the word democracy and come to his senses. we don't stage palace coups. congress that's where we elect leaders not by writing memos . viva mdc t viva


I see nothing wrong in Mudzuri challenging Tsvangirai as longs as he does it responsibly in a congress. Thus, Mudzuri's ability to challenge his leader respectfully will be a show of political maturity ultimately portraying him as a potential presidential candidate. It's not the outcome of this process that matters now but the principle and the signal it will send. Tsvangirai on the other hand, should by now have the maturity not to view this as rebellion. He has to demonstrate commitment to democracy by not taking offence in such a challenge neither should allow it grudgingly. That's the chance he has to show his political maturity as a leader. Even if Mudzuri loses, MT should still be prepared to work with him after the congress. Punishing him in an way will expose Tsvangirai as a leader and further damage his image and that of the party. Tolerance and objectivity are not options in a democratic political party. intolerance and

Outsider - 17 June 2014

This is the best thing i have heard for a very long time.Engineers are known for calculating and lawyer for talking.Imagine if Biti had closed his mouth,did his calculations quietly, he could be contesting now

Isu zvedu - 17 June 2014

Even if Mudzuri loses, MT should still be prepared to work with him after the congress.

MOYO - 17 June 2014

Whatever happened before now was a blessing in disguise, meant to remove the unwanted chuff (Biti and company). Now the party can move on. Thanks to Hon Mudzuri. I wish if you could win and get thumbs up from MT and them work with him to build the party. If you lose, you lose magnanimously. God bless the beloved party and our Zimbabwe.

Boterekwa - 17 June 2014

That's what we term Democracy VaMudzuri. Regera uone. Tsvangirai is likely to hand over power to Mudzuri vanaBiti vagosara vakashama maromo anonhuwa mbanje. As long as Tsvangilson campaigns for Mudzuri in 2018 MDC-T will win a free and fair election

Tafunuka - 17 June 2014

It is a good move by Mudzuri and may the best man win. the biggest challenge is for the MDC T to educate the supporters to accept Mudzuri's challenge and preach peace through out. They should be warry of infiltrators who tend to take advantage and destabilize the situation.

Gwenaz - 17 June 2014

Engeneer Mudzuri is a hard working man who made significant strides as the mayor of Harare and I'm sure he would do the same for the country. He has shown us how calm, mature and democratic he is. You have my support Mr. Mudzuri

Dr Know - 18 June 2014

Now we can exercise true democracy, NOT the Biti,Mangoma&co way.Even if Mudzuri loses the presidency for now, he has demonstrated great statesmanship,respect for the pple&the party. Yes the guy has political maturity&love for our struggle for real, responsible freedom.

ngoromera haribatsiri - 18 June 2014


Cde Chinotimba - 18 June 2014

fake bedzi iyo kuda kuti zvinzi kune democracy hapana hapana

muchaka - 18 June 2014

“I have not been attending these rallies because I feel now is the time to be going underground and work for the benefit of the people,” sitting on the fence,undecided - thats cunning for Mudzuri a Biti sympathiser.

Mukanya - 18 June 2014

“I have not been attending these rallies because I feel now is the time to be going underground and work for the benefit of the people,” sitting on the fence,undecided - thats cunning for Mudzuri a Biti sympathiser.

Mukanya - 18 June 2014

Thumbs up vaMudzuri even if you win work with Tsvangison and also Tsvangison should also work with you to turn around zimbabwe

UDOGO - 18 June 2014

Politics is an art and not a science, and what is required for its mastery is not the rationality of the engineer but the wisdom and the moral strength of the statesman” A powerful person is not he who out-wrestles others. A powerful person is he who can control himself when angry. I salute thee Mr Mudzuri whether you loose or win that's who democracy should be like. I cherish that route of reasoning.Good leadership and parential care is seen through your stance.

Chemical Solution - 18 June 2014

Surely people appreciate Mudzuri's democratic way of challenging MT. However,MT cannot go to BITI&CO for unity. It's like Jesus begging Judas Iscariot to stop that stupid suicide&work for God. Let Sekai Holland work with her friends in the so called 'RENEWAL TEAM, but not with MDC-T. Please we can't work with our sworn enemies just for the sake of useless unity.

ZVIGAMBA PASUIT - 19 June 2014

saka nhaiwe mudzuri ndoo zvawakadzokera zvekuzoparadza MDC from within?tinokuzivai ngara,chikandamina,wamambo kuti munokara kwazvo asi maqualities hamuna,

avaram vilbram lexicon - 20 June 2014

Vanhu, u should not forget democratic principles and constitutions. When the NCA and thereafter the MDC were formed, it was agreed that presidents of both organizations were to serve for only 2 five year terms. What do we see, MT has been president for 15 yrs and he wants to continue for yet another 5 yrs. Hushe madzoro, MT has mentioned this many times lest we forget. MT should not lead because he is popular, but according to the constitution, period.Another thing how to assess performance, do we have the same standards?

Humba - 23 June 2014


MBITI - 24 June 2014

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