THE late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s succession fight is not yet over as some party stalwarts are now lobbying for the matter to be referred to the party’s appeals tribunal after moves to hold a special congress stalled last week.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, told NewsDay yesterday that they were now pushing for the matter to be settled by the tribunal following a stalemate over the interpretation of the party’s constitution on issues of succession.
“These are genuine disputes around the meaning and interpretation of the constitution, that no one can supress, for that reason we have initiated the mechanisms to make sure that we settle the constitutional question within the party,” he said.
The opposition party faces a split with Tsvangirai’s three deputies — Nelson Chamisa, Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri – all claiming the right to succeed the former Premier who succumbed to colon cancer and was buried at his rural home in Buhera last week.
“In terms of our constitution, where constitutional disputes arise the matter is referred to the appeals tribunal, for interpretation of the constitution. It is therefore necessary that we refer the dispute to the tribunal, which must settle this question,” Mwonzora said.
Mwonzora’s remarks came following the elevation of Chamisa as interim leader by the party’s national council, a move Khupe dismissed as unconstitutional.
On Friday, Chamisa got another endorsement after 630 delegates from the party’s 210 districts nominated him as presidential candidate, effectively anointing him Tsvangirai’s successor.
Mwonzora yesterday said he was aware of the recommendations from the party’s structures, but insisted on sticking to the MDC-T constitution.
“There was a recommendation by the consultative meeting that we make interim leader Chamisa our presidential candidate, a formal meeting has to do that. There is debate in the party on whether the national council is the body or not that must do that, or it must be special congress… this debate is going to be exhausted on Wednesday, by the leadership. It’s going to decide on what are the constitutional bodies that must do that,” he said.
Khupe has claimed that by operation of the constitution, she was the bona fide candidate to succeed Tsvangirai since she was elected at congress, while her peers Chamisa and Mudzuri were handpicked by the late party leader. Mudzuri has, in the meantime, taken a back seat in the succession race, amid reports he was now backing Chamisa.