BY BLESSED MHLANGA/TATENDA CHITAGU
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has dismissed warnings that the party’s May elective congress was divisive that it could lead to another split.
Chamisa, who cancelled a rally scheduled for Bulawayo at the weekend, heads to Masvingo today where he is expected to drum up support ahead of the crunch congress.
The youthful leader, facing the ultimate test of his political carreer said if anything, the party founded by the late Morgan Tsvangirai would emerge stronger after congress.
“There is jostling for posts within the party ahead of congress. This is not a sign of weakness. Jostling leads to strength, more strength; (that) depends on how you manage the processes. As far as we are concerned, we are developing our movement,” Chamisa said.
Insiders have expressed concern that either Chamisa or party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora could leave the party if one of them lost the presidency.
Mwonzora is reportedly eyeing the presidency and is confident that he will trounce Chamisa for the second time in the internal polls.
“You will see that our congress is going to produce a very credible, stronger and more vibrant movement. This is a people’s movement and people’s struggles cannot be split.
Individuals can choose to exfoliate and pull off, but that is not a split,” Chamisa said.
Mwonzora, on the other hand, said he would remain in the MDC even if he lost at congress, saying he was loyal to the party.
“If I don’t win elections, I will remain loyal to the party. Let me tell you the hierarchy of loyalty is in my mind. I am loyal to the cause, to democracy, justice to fairness. Secondly, I am loyal to the party, and thirdly, I am loyal to the leadership.
In that order, and if our people whom we must respect vote a certain person in, that person deserves my respect, deserves my support and I will support that person for the next five years,” Mwonzora said.
Top MDC leaders including Morgen Komichi, Tendai Biti, Chalton Hwende, Happymore Chidziva, Lynette Karenyi and Welshman Ncube have thrown their weight behind Chamisa ahead of the elective congress.
Meanwhile, MDC Masvingo provincial chairperson James Gumbi confirmed Chamisa’s impending visit today, but declined to shed more light on the purpose of the visit.
“The president is going to have a meeting with Masvingo structures. But it is an internal affair which I cannot share with the media; it is our housekeeping issues,” Gumbi said.
But sources said Chamisa was expected to crack the whip in the faction-riddled province in the wake of serious jockeying for positions ahead of the provincial congress scheduled for next month.
“Chamisa is set to lay the ground rules for the campaigns, which are currently underway. He is also seeking his home province’s vote,” a source said.
Gumbi is starving off a challenge by former Youth deputy minister and ex-Masvingo Urban legislator, Tongai Matutu, who is also eyeing the chairmanship post. Matutu, who once joined a splinter party, the People’s Democratic Party then led by former Finance minister Tendai Biti as its deputy secretary-general, is backed by largely former rebels who rejoined the MDC. Gumbi, on the other hand, has the backing of the party faithfuls, who criticise the party prodigal sons as a chancers, bent only on getting positions.