By Staff Reporter
HARARE – The May Congress will provide a litmus test for Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, following a declaration of war by party youth on anyone who dares incumbent, Nelson Chamisa, for the post of party President.
For close to two decades since its official launch in 1999, the MDC has verbally styled itself as “the party of excellence”, but that stands to be tested, as the youth declared Monday that any Chamisa challenger would be treated like an enemy of the institution.
Douglas Mwonzora, who beat Chamisa in the last congress for the position of Secretary General, which the latter currently holds, is believably angling for the party’s ultimate leadership position, making this the first time the MDC Presidency ever gets to be challenged at a congress.
Equivocally targeting Mwonzora, Harare province youth assembly executive member, Womberaiishe Nhende, suggested during a media briefing at the party’s Morgan Tsvangirai House headquarters in Harare that whoever goes toe to toe with Chamisa on May 24-26 would go into the youth’s bad books.
“This came from two meetings that were held Saturday and Sunday and the position came from people who are already in the structure, who make up the congress delegate,” said Nhende.
“Their voice then stands in terms of giving the nomination to the presidential candidate, who is Nelson Chamisa. Anyone who has aspirations, thinks or dreams of challenging Chamisa probably will be declaring himself an enemy of MDC Harare province and an enemy of progress.”
In what threatens democracy within the MDC, some Chamisa extremists have described Mwonzora’s highly likely presidential challenge as a Zanu (PF) ploy to destabilise the opposition party.
An inside source disclosed that some youths were already pushing for the veteran politician’s ouster even before congress, for his purported links with the ruling party.
“Mwonzora might be gone by congress. The party has been very lenient with him from way before Tsvangirai passed on,” said the source, without saying under which MDC statutes that would be possible.
“He (Mwonzora) was strongly against the Alliance (MDC Alliance) and at one time considered pulling out of the party to join Thokozani Khupe (leader of the smaller post-February 2018 MDC-T splinter), but quickly realised that he would have signed his career away.
“Plans are now underway to fire him from the party before congress because we now know how he wants to react after congress too; he wants to take his loss to ED’s courts, where a Chamisa win would be declared illegal.”
Mwonzora’s opponents claim his candidature is being financed by Zanu (PF) to the tune of $6 million, but ruling party spokesperson, Simon Khaya-Moyo, dispelled the statements recently, arguing his party had a majority in parliament, which sterilized any need to meddle in MDC politics.