Mudzuri, Chamisa at each other’s throats

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MDC-T national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri’s political fortunes appear to be on a freefall amid revelations he is set to lose his powerful post to party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa.

On Thursday night there were indications that the former Energy and Power Development minister and Harare executive mayor would emerge from the MDC-T congress an ordinary card-carrying member of the party.

As the MDC-T national congress draws closer, Mashonaland West has nominated Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his entire executive for re-election but sidelined founding member Mudzuri.

Harare province also made its nominations setting the pace for the much-awaited congress at the end of the month.

The two provinces sidelined Mudzuri and nominated Chamisa, who is expected to take over after the congress as national organising secretary.

Mudzuri is accused of leading a faction within the MDC-T although he vehemently denies this.

Harare and Mashonaland West also nominated Thokozani Khupe as Tsvangirai’s deputy with Tendai Biti nominated to his current post beating Eliphas Mukonoweshuro.

The MDC-T congress is scheduled for next week in Bulawayo.

“Mudzuri will leave Bulawayo empty-handed,” said an MDC-T insider. “He will be just like any other card-carrying member of the party.”

But a defiant Mudzuri declared he was popular with the grassroots members of the party, accusing the media of being manipulated by Chamisa to portray him as an unpopular politician.

“I have been bombarded by newspapers. I see conspiracy because Chamisa controls newspapers,” Mudzuri told NewsDay on Thursday.

“He is the one who is saying go for this person. I am being attacked by the Press which is being used by someone to create an impression that I am finished. I also need positive coverage. If you give me negative coverage you are decampaigning me. When I became organising secretary in 2006 I was nominated by three provinces, but I still won. I do not know where this is coming from. Chamisa is controlling the media.

“If he is contesting he must do it in a clean way. I am a clean man. If I lose that is not a problem. I am not like (President Robert) Mugabe.”

Chamisa, however, distanced himself from the alleged conspiracy against Mudzuri, saying: “I am not doing anything. Nominations have not yet been brought to the national office. We expect them tomorrow (Friday).

“The culture in the party is that we do not give ourselves positions. People assign us to positions and deploy us to various tasks to advance the struggle for real change and democracy.”

He also denied controlling the media.

“You know that I do not own any newspaper and I do not control any newsroom,” said Chamisa.
Mudzuri and Chamisa are at each other’s throats as both men are eyeing the strategic post of national organising secretary.

Insiders say Chamisa is poised to displace Mudzuri because he appears to be enjoying the support of most of the provinces.

It is believed Mudzuri has the support of two provinces: Midlands North and Mashonaland East. The rest of the provinces are said to be backing Chamisa.

However, Mudzuri said he was confident of winning back his post, adding: “I organised the party when we came from a split and we won elections in 2008. I am confident of winning. There are so many people who support me. Check on the grassroots to see how I was elected in the first place. You do not judge a person before he writes an examination. You may be surprised he will pass.”

He said he was concerned about the negative treatment he was getting from the media.

“The media is treating me as if I am new in the party,” he said. “They are treating me as if I have just dropped from Mars. I have done a lot of good work for the country.”

Others who were nominated were Tapiwa Mashakada (deputy secretary-general), Abednico Bhebhe (deputy organising secretary) and Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo (chairperson) to be deputised by Morgan Komichi.

Treasurer-general Roy Bennett and his deputy Elton Mangoma were renominated in their current positions.

Mudzuri became Harare executive mayor in 2002, but was removed from office by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo following several clashes over policy issues.

He was then appointed Energy minister in 2009 at the inception of the inclusive government, but was dropped last year by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai amid suggestions he had fallen out of favour with the MDC-T leader.

Tsvangirai and the rest of his national executive are set to retain their posts after provinces overwhelmingly nominated them for re-election.