Epic MDC battle

HARARE - Top Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials Nelson Chamisa, Douglas Mwonzora and Tapiwa Mashakada are entangled in a “titanic battle” for the party’s secretary-general (SG) post.

The epic clash comes in the wake of the party’s ex-secretary general Tendai Biti’s decision to start a breakaway faction, triggering a bitter power fight to take charge of the powerful office ahead of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led party’s October congress.

While Chamisa is leading the race with two key official nominations — from Harare and Chitungwiza — his bitter rivals Mwonzora and Mashakada are yet to get any nominations, although the former is also banking on support from Mashonaland East, Masvingo and other outlying areas.

Mashakada, meanwhile, is counting on the MDC leader Tsvangirai’s support or backing, since he is already occupying the position though in an acting capacity.

Wilson Makanyaire, the Mashonaland West organising secretary, told the Daily News this week that they had nominated Chamisa on the basis of his loyalty to Tsvangirai and the province felt Mwonzora should remain the party’s information secretary because he has “handled the portfolio with distinction.”

“He (Chamisa) is our man for the post because we believe he is the man who can effectively handle the administration of the party if we entertain any hope of being in power after the 2018 elections,” he said.

Makanyaire said his province wanted Chamisa to become SG because he was “a patient leader with potential to eventually take over leadership of the party after Tsvangirai”.

On the other hand, Youth Assembly chairman for Chitungwiza Jabulani Mtunzi, confirmed Chamisa’s nomination on the basis that he “deserved to be rewarded for his loyal service”.

Apart from the SG post, which is to be contested at congress, Tsvangirai and his deputy Thokozani Khupe as well as national chairman Lovemore Moyo are said to be safe.

The on-going provincial nominations also include contestations for standing committee candidates that have sharply divided the MDC.

Even, though, Chamisa is widely tipped to land the key post — as he banks on structures he has built up in his capacity of organising secretary and reportedly enjoys the backing of all 12 MDC provinces — dissenters say it is not fait accompli.

In particular, a Mashonaland East official said yesterday that it was not going to be an easy race, as both Chamisa and Mwonzora seemed to have ample support countrywide.

“It looks like Mwonzora has an upper hand over Chamisa here, but you never know because nobody in the province has been confirmed yet so people are still playing their cards close to their chests so taking sides openly at this point in time may be dangerous because we want to be confirmed first,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On the other hand, officials in far-flung Matabeleland provinces also predicted a close contest between the two, saying support was almost 50-50.

“Tsikamutanda (as Mwonzora is known to his supporters) seems to have more support in Matabeleland, particularly in Bulawayo but Cobra (Chamisa) is cunning,” they said, adding that the former seemed “to be leading the race, although Chamisa has been steadily clawing back and making inroads” in those outlying areas as well.

“He (the Kuwadzana Member of Parliament) is a Rick Flair character and can do anything, especially when he is cornered. He believes in getting what he wants against all odds and has been steadily gaining ground,” the officials added.

In particular, Chamisa’s foes will try to capitalise on the charge that he had “destroyed the party after inheriting a healthy parliamentary majority and structures from Elias Mudzuri”.

However, with Chamisa garnering at least two nominations and the Mashonaland West one virtually assured, the odds are heavily tilted against Mwonzora and the Hatfield legislator Mashakada.

As party supporters — and Zimbabweans in general — remained entranced, and gripped by the epic fight, the contest has escalated internal feuding, with violent clashes having been recorded in Chitungwiza and other areas.

Nonetheless, the issues will be put to congress for decision.

While Harare and Chitungwiza have nominated Chamisa for the SG’s post, both provinces have nominated Mashakada for the post of deputy SG and Mwonzora to retain his post as party spokesman.

According to the MDC organising secretary’s supporters in the two provinces, they feel the ex-national youth league leader would be able to “fully restore the MDC’s moral reputation” following the much-publicised cases of internal squabbling.

Just as the current jockeying for posts has worsened internal wrangling, knives had been drawn over constitutional reforms to concentrate power in Tsvangirai’s office.

But as things stand, it is the winner-take-all contest for the SG post that has overshadowed all fights.

Comments (22)

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GALLERYCARTRIDGES - 26 September 2014

"Tsikamutanda (as Mwonzora is known to his supporters) seems to have more support in Matabeleland, particularly in Bulawayo but Cobra (Chamisa) is cunning,” they said, adding that the former seemed “to be leading the race, although Chamisa has been steadily clawing back and making inroads” in those outlying areas as well. Editor, MDC is strongest in Matebeleland in general and Bulawayo in particular so how then can that region be called an outlying area?

Galore 123 - 26 September 2014

Nelson Chamisa is the main man who should take the post. the two provinces are correct keep the vote comrade we now need our country to go ahead congress iyi is to decide our winning 2018 comrades. Dont play at congress go their to choose our future.

NAPOKOLIPOLO - 26 September 2014

chamisa might be combative but he is immature for the post. he can do better with the youth assembly chair. the sg post should go to mashakada, mudzuri or gutu. mwonzora is a rabble rouser and should therefore remain at publicty and information. times have changed chokwadi, inga mdc haichina vanhu vanachamisa chaivo vavakutocontest sg post, zvakaoma.

cde churucheminzwa - 26 September 2014

maturity is not in age but in one"s ability to manage responsibility. chamisa is the man Fo the SG post

ramsy - 26 September 2014

Chamisa is ok for stg maturity is nothing as the party is full of matured men and women who can guide him . Wish you good lucky petty .

Diibulaanyika - 26 September 2014

Wezhira svinoita paSG ipapo isu team Mberengwa tinewe . ASIJIKI 2018 TOUYAKO ZANU PF

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 26 September 2014

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has vowed to go ahead with planned street protests BUT Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga has also warned that the army would not sit back in the face of an “insurgency”. What has the MDC-T has to say about this comment from Chiwenga? The reason why I always say the much-hyped new Constitution is worse than lavatory paper is because Chiwenga can do as he pleases ignoring the Constitution and there is nothing anyone can do about it. And MDC-T are going to pretend they never heard or read Chiwenga's comment.

Musona - 26 September 2014

Chamisa is the man for the post because of his loyalty. Tsikamutanda is the guy who knows a lot about his current post and has done good so he must remain on the post to protect the party with his experience

FATHERZ - 27 September 2014

Chamisa is a jumped-up upstart. Takes politics as a career. Spends time in the def and dumb parliament talking about how to increase handouts to so-called war veterans. Chamisa is far too young to understand the intricate political situation in Zimbabwe.

Musona - 27 September 2014

One sentence should read, "Spends time in the deaf and dumb parliament talking about how to increase handouts to so-called war veterans".

Musona - 27 September 2014

Musona soon or later he will be gone. Vangaite havo vakdaii but as a mortal soul he will go and he will burn in hell. Of course he has to protect his loot even if it means killing everybody including his former wife.

Maita Manyuka - 27 September 2014

Is it really a bitter fight, or they are just exercising their right ?

Daniel Berejena - 27 September 2014

All what Chiwengwa said is nonsense we all know he is coward fake soldier who threatens unarmed citizens who are going about their business of demos which the constitution allows them to . We know very well that the guy is partisan and is not professional so those who are poor including soldiers and policemen will not listen to some lunatics they will go ahead with demos to force the gvt to fix the decaying economy . Mind you our soldiers are also suffering so are zanu supporters and they will not be used by idiots like Chiwengwa . The army is now destroyed every thing they are using is outdated while they are no longer mobile actually we zimbabweaans are docile in other countries the guy could have been chased away long back,

Diibulaanyika - 27 September 2014

I agree with Galore, how do you call Matebeleland-far-flung? Far-flung from where?

Professor of law - 27 September 2014

so chamisa is next to ditch tsvangirai and form his own break-away party........vision 2020

dred - 28 September 2014

Is being mzukuru waTsvangirai the definition of loyalty?

Observer - 29 September 2014

chamisa is the next to ditch morgan and form his break-away faction this is evidenced by the way he rigged mash central provincial structure on the 29 sept 2014

nixonmadzinga - 3 October 2014

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