BY RICHARD MUPONDE/NQOBANI NDLOVU
MDC-T interim secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora says he is confident of winning the presidency of the party at the extraordinary congress to be held this Sunday.
The MDC-T is set to hold its elective congress this weekend after it was cancelled at the last minute six days ago by party interim leader Thokozani Khupe following allegations that Mwonzora was manipulating the voters’ roll.
However, Khupe and Mwonzora faced off in a stormy meeting on Monday to resolve the dispute over the voters’ roll to be used at the party’s congress.
Accusations against Mwonzora were that he allegedly tried to sneak in a “doctored” voters’ roll stuffed with names of his backers who were not part of the 2014 MDC-T structures.
This was after the Supreme Court ruled in March this year that the party should convene an elective congress to replace the late founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who died in February 2018.
“I believe there are efforts to try to scuttle my chances of winning. However, they will not succeed. The people shall speak,” Mwonzora said in an interview.
Khupe and Mwonzora are seen as the frontrunners for the MDC-T presidency at the elective congress where they will also battle it out with party acting chairman, Morgen Komichi and deputy national chairman Elias Mudzuri.
As the chaos in Khupe’s party continues before its congress, last Saturday during a national council meeting at Mudzuri’s house, the party resolved to audit the voters’ roll.
At another meeting on Monday, Mwonzora allegedly struggled to present his version of the voters’ roll which he claimed represented the party’s 2014 structures.
Khupe was said to be armed with a copy of the 2014 structures favoured to the party by suspended organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe.
An insider said the party was contemplating using a printed roll fearing that a soft copy could be hacked and manipulated.
Khupe’s former aide, Witness Dube who is now an ally of Mwonzora, said the MDC-T needed “healing” to reconcile warring factions torn apart by the upcoming elective congress.
There have been fights for assets, which have at times turned physical and violent, as opposing factions within the opposition party push for control of the party.
“I am very grateful and proud of the 10 years I spent with Khupe. However, this congress is about the millions of Zimbabweans looking up to MDC for economic, political and social reforms for the better,” Dube told NewsDay.
“I am optimistic that this congress will give MDC an opportunity to heal when campaigns fold and that focus will return to assuming the role of being the official opposition.”
The congress, however, hangs in the balance if the High Court rules in favour of Bhebhe, who is seeking its postponement.
Bhebhe filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court last Friday seeking an interdict stopping the holding of the congress until matter challenging his suspension and subsequent expulsion from the party is resolved.
However, High Court judge Justice Christopher Dube Banda postponed the matter to this week after the respondents’ lawyer, Tawanda Tawengwa argued that the respondents could not prepare opposing papers because they were served with the applicant‘s court papers very late on Tuesday last week. The matter is set to be heard any day from today.
The former Nkayi South legislator was recently expelled from the MDC on charges that he was an MDC Alliance lackey, which he denies.
Bhebhe was also eyeing the presidency.