PRESSURE is mounting on Nelson Chamisa and his close allies, as more MDC stalwarts start to pull away from the charismatic politician, in the simmering war for the soul of the country’s main opposition party.
This comes as the Daily News On Sunday has confirmed that authorities will release $7,5 million due to the MDC under the Political Parties (Finance) Act to the group that is temporarily in charge of the party following the recent court rulings — in a move which strengthens them significantly in the unfolding battle for the leadership of the party.
It also comes as the Daily News On Sunday has it on good authority that Chamisa and his associates are busy weighing three options, as the ructions in the party continue to escalate — all of which present their own unique challenges:
* Disregarding the recent High Court and Supreme Court judgements which nullified Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC, and continuing as if nothing has changed
* Respecting the court rulings and preparing to contest positions at the extraordinary congress which the courts said must be held soon, or
* Forming a new party altogether — which would be completely divorced from the successful political movement that was founded by the party’s much loved founding leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai
While all this is happening, the Daily News On Sunday has also established that the group that is temporarily in charge of the party is determinedly forging ahead with its plans to hold the court directed congress, to choose a new party leader — piling further pressure on Chamisa, who maintains that he still leads the country’s main opposition.
This comes after the Supreme Court recently upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court — which said Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the MDC had violated the opposition party’s constitution and was, therefore, null and void.
The ruling handed Tsvangirai’s then deputy, Khupe, the interim leadership of the party as she was elected at the party’s congress in 2014 — while Chamisa’s other rivals Morgen Komichi and Douglas Mwonzora reverted to being national chairperson and secretary-general respectively.
The court also ordered Khupe to hold an extraordinary congress within three months.
Yesterday, Mwonzora told the Daily News On Sunday that they had now exceeded the required quorum, which allowed them to proceed with the congress.
“The response for the congress is overwhelming. It will be oversubscribed. Thousands of delegates have already confirmed their attendance at the congress … much more than the quorum.
“For now, we are mostly interested in the delegates who will be coming to the congress and not in everyone else … we will meet everyone else after the congress.
“Although we have had limitations because of the health situation, in terms of preparations we are at an advanced stage and we are going to elect a new MDC president soon,” Mwonzora said.
On his part, Komichi said they would use the money due to the opposition for participating in the 2018 elections to prepare for the congress.
“We have claim to the money that is provided in Parliament and we are going to use that money to prepare for the congress.
“We are mindful of the rule of law … the congress is going to be held within the three months. We have a clear mandate from the Supreme Court, and we have a overwhelming response.
“Everyone who was in those structures is going to come to the congress,” the confident Komichi said.
Meanwhile, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has confirmed to the Daily News on Sunday that the government would disburse the money due to the MDC to the Khupe group.
“The money has not been released because of Covid-19, but I think the claims by the Mwonzora group are correct.
“My understanding is that the Alliance is a grouping of several parties and the MDC is the bigger party in that Alliance,” he said.
In the meantime, Chamisa’s faction says it is aware of the “machinations” of its former colleagues to secure the millions due to the party.
“The law is clear, the party that would have deployed MPs in Parliament are entitled to the funding. As things stand now, there are only two parties that are entitled to that funding, that is the MDC Alliance and Zanu PF.
“Any action outside this by whoever in government or otherwise would be unlawful,” MDC deputy secretary general Jameson Timba said.
“We are, however, conscious of the political intentions of Zanu PF, who are working with our erstwhile colleagues who left the party, to stifle the operations of the MDC Alliance. But these political machinations will be resisted,” he added.
In a sign of the trouble brewing for Chamisa, the re-instated chairperson for Mashonaland East, Piniel Denga, has accused the youthful politician of acting contrary to principles of democracy.
Denga contested for the leadership of the province at the MDC’s chaotic congress that was held in Gweru last May, but lost to Anthony Mutodza.
“After the Supreme Court judgment that said things were not done according to our constitution, we have one group of leadership which is calling for us to implement our own constitution.
“However, there is another group of leadership that is afraid that if things are done according to our constitution they might lose their influential party positions.
“This group of leaders is now going about labelling as Zanu PF those who say let’s follow the constitution,” Denga wrote on Facebook.
He confirmed to the Daily News On Sunday that he had posted the statement on his page.
“Did Zanu PF write our constitution for us? Is it not true that Advocate Chamisa, through his lawyer in the Supreme Court case, agreed that the constitution that was being used was the correct constitution of the party?
“That is the same constitution that other leaders are saying let’s follow in line with the Supreme Court ruling,” Denga added.
He said it was wrong for Chamisa and his allies to distance the MDC Alliance from the MDC because they were still using the party’s constitution.
“When was our party dissolved in terms of our constitution? Why were primary elections in constituencies allocated to (Tendai) Biti’s PDP and (Welshman) Ncube’s MDC not open to those from MDC T as was left by Morgan Tsvangirai?
“Why did we hold the Gweru congress as the party’s fifth if we have now become MDC Alliance?
“Why did Chamisa appeal against the High Court ruling if the ruling had nothing to do with our party? Dishonest leadership will not take the party anywhere,” Denga said further.
The former Mbare MP also claimed that he had taken Chalton Hwende to task on whether they would not have accepted the court ruling had it been in their favour.
“Hwende did not answer my question. As a response I started seeing my message to him being circulated in social media groups.
“I was also removed from the National Executive WhatsApp group and some leaders called me a sellout.
“If following our party constitution is selling out then I accept being a sellout in that respect. I am selling out dishonesty,” Denga said.
He also took a swipe at Chamisa for accepting Biti and Ncube back into the party after they broke away from Tsvangirai, having called him names.
“When these two came back to the party they were celebrated, but no one asked them to renounce their Zanu PF membership as was alleged when they split.
“No one asked them to take back their words against our now late president. Biti called him “Gumbura’ and Ncube called him a dictator.
“These leaders said many unprintable bad words against our party and our late leader. When they went away they took with them party assets and money and everyone knows it.
“And everyone knows when they came back they did not bring back what they took with them,” Denga also let rip.