BY BRENNA MATENDERE/TATENDA CHITAGU
MDC Shurugwi South district has passed a resolution to nominate party leader Nelson Chamisa for presidency ahead of the elective congress scheduled for May.
The resolution was unanimously passed at a well-attended district meeting held at Chachacha business centre on Saturday. Norman Pfeveni, the Shurugwi South MDC district chairperson, confirmed the development.
“As a district, we have all agreed to support the candidature of the current leader, Chamisa, to see us through in the fight against the dictatorship of Zanu PF and the party’s discredited rule,” he said.
“Accordingly, all the district structures unanimously passed the resolution to back our son, Chamisa, for the position of the president of the party at the next congress to be held in May.”
Pfeveni added that the district would stand guided by the grassroots on the other posts.
“Soon after our district meeting, the provincial organiser Kelvin Musindo and his deputy Erasmus Ndonga, visited the gathering and we formally communicated our position to them that we are not interested in anyone else other than our son Chamisa for the president’s post at congress. That should guide the province when making nominations for Midlands,” he said.
Yusuf Meredzi, the MDC Shurugwi South district organising secretary, said the Saturday meeting was properly constituted.
“All the leaders of the 15 wards in our political district attended the meeting. So it means the resolution we made is binding,” he said.
In Masvingo, as jostling for positions in the MDC reaches fever pitch ahead of the national congress, some party supporters were moving to quash former rebels who returned to the party and are campaigning for top posts.
The contest for the coveted chairmanship post pits the incumbent, James Gumbi, against former Masvingo Urban legislator Tongai Matutu, who once joined Tendai Biti’s former People’s Democratic Party, before seeking re-admission as an individual into the MDC-T in 2016.
Campaigning for party positions are in full swing in Masvingo and over the weekend, Gutu district was a political turf for both Gumbi and Matutu, as they took their campaign to the swing constituency.
On Sunday, the two sides wound up their campaign in Masvingo urban, with the Matutu side having a meeting at a councillor’s house in Mucheke suburb, just a few hours after Gumbi had a meeting at the party offices.
Both sides pledge loyalty to Chamisa, although sources said the former rebels — most who lost in the MDC-T primary elections ahead of the 2013 harmonised polls — blame Chamisa for their political misfortunes when he was still party national organiser.
Party supporters said they would stand with the party faithful, as voting the returnees was similar to rewarding rebellion.
“We need to stand with the people that stood with the party through thick and thin. These are the people who have unwavering support for the movement and are not easily swayed by money or positions. We do not know where the returnees will take us again; maybe they can split us again,” Clever Manyundwa, of Gutu, said.
Another party member from Masvingo Urban, Obert Madzore, said: “They once went away and came back. Now they are interested in positions. What if we vote them to positions, and after that, they engineer another split?”
Under the MDC constitution and the congress template, members may only stand for a position if they were over five years old in the party. However, constitutionalists said the clause was difficult to implement if its purpose was to stop the former rebels since the MDC Alliance did not have its own constitution, but is using the original MDC constitution.
Contacted for a comment, Matutu chose to be diplomatic, saying he had quit politics, although he was seen strategising and canvassing for votes in Masvingo over the weekend.
Gumbi decried alleged infiltration by Zanu PF, which he said was bribing some members to influence the outcome of the congress.