BY BLESSED MHLANGA/BRENNA MATENDERE
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has taken the battle to control the heart and soul of the opposition to party structures, dispatching his top leadership to conduct branch meetings across the country in an effort to outfox his rivals.
Chamisa himself was in Mbare, Chitungwiza and Mabvuku from Friday to Sunday where he met party members, danced to local dancehall music with ghetto youths and was mobbed by hundreds of supporters as the MDC Alliance said it was mobilising for mass action against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Chamisa’s presidential affairs secretary, Jameson Timba confirmed that the party was gearing to demand living wages for the people, a stop to corruption and a better Zimbabwe.
“The president has been about meeting the people, listening to their challenges and offering direction. If you remember our plan and strategy was to have action, to confront the evils of corruption and poverty caused by the Zanu PF government. We were supposed to have gone across the country and dealt with these things by May, but the plans were scuttled by COVID-19,” Timba said.
Chamisa, ousted from party headquarters, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House and fired by acting MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe from the party, drew cheers as he met ordinary party members.
During the tours Chamisa told NewsDay that he remained in control of the party and its structures and would not be deterred by his opponents.
“I can’t be told that I don’t have a party by people whom I defeated at polls using that party. Go and check the records. The MDC Alliance is the party that won elections. The leader of the MDC Alliance beat Emmerson Mnangagwa in the rigged elections. He can’t forgive us over that drubbing,” he said.
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Chamisa contested the final presidential results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission insisting that he had garnered 2,6 million votes to win the presidency although he lost the challenge in court.
Khupe, who assumed leadership, through a Supreme Court ruling, also ran as a presidential candidate and got an official tally of 45 000 votes.
In an effort to win the hearts of supporters, the underfire Chamisa, who has been suffering crucial court defeats, dispatched secretary for rural mobilisation Happymore Chidziva to mobilise structures and close out Khupe’s team.
Chidziva said he had been holding branch meetings and was enjoying massive support from the business community and party members at home and abroad who were funding his outreach programme.
“The party is not stopping, it’s going ahead and I can tell you we are solid, over 200 branch meetings have taken place. We are getting support from our members and there is no doubt that they know where they stand,” Chidziva said.
Last week, MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende announced that they had received close to $210 000 for rural structures from a South African businessman.
Meanwhile, Khupe’s MDC-T said it was planning to recall 20 MPs who got into Parliament on an MDC Alliance ticket with close sources revealing that a batch of 12 would be booted out of the august House as early as this afternoon.
Impeccable sources yesterday told NewsDay that four top Chamisa loyalists including his deputy Lynette Karenyi-Kore, who is women’s quota proportional representation MP for Manicaland and organising secretary Amos Chibaya (Mkoba MP) would also face recall.
“Firstly, you need to realise that last week the MDC-T made replacements in the standing committee which existed in 2014 and was reinstated by the Supreme Court ruling. Among some people who were replaced are Karenyi-Kore, Chibaya, Murisi Zwizwai and Happymore Chidziva, who are all current MPs. These, therefore, are obviously going to be on the first list of MPs to be recalled today,” the source said.
On Thursday last week, a senior staff member in acting secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora’s office, Norest Marara, posted on his Facebook page hinting on the imminent purge. “Tuesday 23/06/2020. Someone will cease to be honourable and will be dishonourable,” he wrote.
Contacted for comment, MDC-T deputy spokesperson Khalipani Phungeni said: “Yes, indeed we have replaced about four members in the standing committee who have since joined another political party. You will appreciate that our constitution says if you join another party you have dismissed yourself (from the party).”
“So someone who has dismissed himself or herself from the party can no longer represent us in Parliament. So yes, I can confirm that members who have fired themselves from the party have no business representing our interests in Parliament. Only members of MDC-T can represent MDC-T in Parliament.”
Phungeni could not be drawn into revealing the actual date on which the MDC Alliance MPs would be recalled from Parliament.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo said the party’s reaction on the possible recalls would be guided by recommendations of their national council.
“What we have always said is that MDC-T and MDC Alliance are two different parties which even went to congresses separately. So it will be illegal for Khupe to recall our MPs. Their call for sticking to 2014 structures is like a reverse jive song which people now want to enjoy as a freshly-released hit music. The 2014 structures were overtaken by events. However, we will be guided by recommendations of our national council if they continue to recall our MPs,” he said.