BY KENNETH NYANGANI/KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREI
MDC Alliance president Douglas Mwonzora is reportedly planning to block aspiring candidates from contesting the party presidency after influencing some youths to declare him the sole presidential candidate.
Flanked by his vice-president Elias Mudzuri and party national chairperson Morgen Komichi, who will compete in the presidential race, Mwonzora told journalists at Press conference in Harare yesterday that the party’s conference dates would be announced today.
Other aspiring candidates include the party national organiser Gift Chimanikire, who was yesterday promoted to the position of secretary for presidium affairs responsible for dialogue, and Norest Marara who contested and lost the Harare Central seat during the March 26 by-elections.
As Mwonzora allegedly angles to shut out other aspiring presidential candidates, he is said to have influenced youths in Harare province to issue a statement on social media after the party’s weekend meeting declaring allegiance to him.
The youths’ letter read: “We are constitutionalists; as such president Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora is our Biblical Moses and Solomon. He is our candidate for the June National MDC-T Congress and 2023 general elections, the centre is still holding tight,” read the letter by the youths.
“As youths, we are going to make sure from today that we are going to deal with all forms of discord, parallelism and factionalism. No to unsanctioned meetings in Harare. All structures and members should do as stipulated in the constitution concerning meetings.”
Mwonzora’s party dismally lost the March 26 by-elections, which resulted in some party members doubting his leadership abilities.
One of the aspiring candidates yesterday told NewsDay that they will not be cowed by the youths’ threats.
“We are aware that Mwonzora has started using his current position to campaign ahead of our congress. Over the weekend he met some youths and influenced them to declare him the sole candidate at the upcoming congress,” the candidate said, adding that Mwonzora was panicking following the March 26 electoral loss.
Addressing the press yesterday, Mwonzora, however, said every position would be contested.
“There is no position which is holy, every position is going to be contested — even the presidium. There will be internal nominations. There is no position which is a no go area, candidates will be given a month to campaign and canvass for support,” Mwonzora said.
“We were tasked by the national council to do some reshuffle to the leaders of the national standing committee. We had a month of consultations with our people and l need to state here the resolutions were for the president to do the reshuffle. You will see the same faces with different roles.
“The reshuffle is meant to strengthen the party. We thought there were departments that needed attention to enable the party to prepare for its internal congress, and to play a leading role in a dialogue,” he added.
Asked whether the party had funds to hold the congress, Mwonzora said their bank account was fat.
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