The fight for MDC-T presidency has taken a new turn amid reports of a plot to push out acting party leader Thokozani Khupe from the race because of her close association with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Political Actors Dialogue (Polad).
Khupe’s MDC-T and several other fringe opposition parties are members of the Mnangagwa-initiated platform to resolve the country’s political contestations, but MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has sarcastically dismissed the platform as a “Zanu PF choir”
Khupe has since threatened to take over Chamisa’s party on the strength of a recent Supreme Court ruling that recognised her as acting party president and ordered the warring factions to revert to the MDC-T structures of 2014.
But Douglas Mwonzora, who assumed the post of MDC-T secretary-general following the Supreme Court ruling, has reportedly started campaigning for the party presidency against two other contenders, Morgen Komichi and Gift Chimanikire.
Mwonzora is in charge of organising an extra-ordinary congress (EOC) to choose the MDC-T’s substantive executive.
“The structures are clear that Khupe can’t be our president because she is too compromised, she is seen as a Zanu PF project and they don’t even want her to remain acting president for three months, they want the EOC to be done faster,” a Mwonzora aide said.
“Khupe has never been in the contention for MDC presidency, she was vice at (founding leader) Morgan (Tsvangirai)’s death, that entitled her to act pending EOC.
But it ended there. She has to be realistic. The moment is not hers,” the source said.
Former MDC-T secretary-general Nixon Nyikadzino, who has appointed himself acting party president, said Khupe stood no ground against Mwonzora and Komichi.
“She has thrown herself to the wolves. They are using her to satisfy their own ends. For instance, Komichi can’t claim to be a constitutionalist now, when he was the one who presided over the elevation of Chamisa to the position of president. She has fired herself from our party and she is going to fall by the wayside in Mwonzora’s MDC, it’s a dog eat dog affair,” Nyikadzino said.
But Komichi insisted he was well grounded to take over the party leadership.
“In Gwanda, people are phoning me, in Binga they are also calling me. They are committing themselves to come, they are prepared even to sell their goats and cattle to come and attend this congress.
They are prepared to come and sleep outside for the sake of this congress. Some people are saying to me ‘Morgan Tsvangirai has risen from the dead’. They are saying our party is back on track,” he said.
Komichi, however, said it was up to the people to elect him into the presidency.
“It is up to God and the people to decide the position they want for me. That question is, therefore, really difficult for me to answer, it is up to the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chamisa has ramped up his MDC Alliance party structures to ring-fence his position and those of his allies, with his close confidante Jameson Timba saying they would stop Mwonzora’s machinations.
“We are not worried about Mwonzora, he is a small boy. He will be stopped politically. We are looking for solutions that will change the country and not to satisfy a few individuals who are power hungry. This matter will be decided by the people,” Timba said.
On Saturday, Chamisa’s loyalists gathered at the party headquarters in Harare with legislator Johanna Mamombe where they vowed to defend their youthful leader as lawyers brainstormed over a legal solution to the leadership wrangle in the MDC camp.