BY OBEY MANAYITI
THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has described the ongoing restructuring exercise, which has often turned violent ahead of the party’s elective congress next month, as a necessary “re-oiling” antidote to harden them for future battles against the ruling Zanu PF.
Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume told NewsDay yesterday that although the restructuring exercise had triggered violent scenes in some parts of the country, adequate mechanisms had now been put in place to ensure the process runs smoothly.
Violence flared up in Bulawayo, Beitbridge, Harare, Chitungwiza and Chipinge at the weekend as MDC bigwigs jostled for posts.
“We are re-oiling our machinery, sharpening it and focusing it for the battles that lie ahead,” Mafume said.
“The party is renewing. We are shedding off old skin and it’s a renewal process that we go through after every five years. We are finishing what happened with the advent of president [Nelson] Chamisa after the untimely demise of our icon (Morgan Tsvangirai) and we managed to renew the presidency and now we are renewing all the structures.
“We are retooling, making sure that we are geared for the battles. The party will come out sharper and stronger and more suited for purpose. We have to rejig the party to become a modern party.”
He said when Chamisa took over after Tsvangirai’s death, he gave Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa a good run for his money in the July 30, 2018 presidential election.
“When we had a change of leadership, we beat Zanu PF at the presidential election and now that we are changing the leadership at the lower structures, we will beat them again in the upcoming elections. This renewal process is very important for an organisation and our renewal process brings about a rebound in the character of the MDC,” Mafume said.
Turning to the Bulawayo council by-election which the MDC lost after fielding two candidates, the MDC spokesperson acknowledged that the party made some mistakes, but said there were other factors that affected their performance, including government’s violent clampdown on civilians during January’s protests.
“Our supporters must not lose heart. We understand that Zanu PF is trying to overblow its performance in the Cowdray Park by-election, which by-election was affected by a number of factors such as the violence meted against our supporters during the whole of February and January. Many of them were in courts.”
He, however, admitted that internally, they were weakened by some mistakes such as double fielding of candidates.
Mafume, nonetheless, vowed that past mistakes would be corrected after the congress, adding the opposition movement would accommodate even congress losers, so as to solidify its structures.
“The renewal process has happened across the districts, new leaders are emerging and old leaders are going forward,” Mafume said.
“Those who would have fallen will not be abandoned, but we have mechanisms to co-opt some of them into various structures at guardianship levels and making sure that the expertise that we have is not lost.
“As a party, we are happy that as a civilian party, we were able to hold internal democratic purposes by and large that are successful and an example of exercising democracy in a civilian party. Going forward, we are now going for the provincial congresses that should start in two weeks’ time.”