Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri
HARARE – Nelson Chamisa faces a challenge for the MDC presidency from his deputy Elias Mudzuri when the party goes for a potentially explosive congress next year, the Daily News can report.
Chamisa came to the leadership of the MDC in controversial fashion early this year following the death of the party’s founding father Morgan Tsvangirai. His dramatic ascent was at the expense of Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe, his two rivals who were both claiming to be the rightful heirs to the throne.However, while Khupe packed her bags and went on to form her own MDC-T, Mudzuri soldiered on and is now one among three vice presidents in the MDC.
The party’s secretary general Douglas Mwonzora told the Daily News that the MDC is most definitely going for congress next year.
“Congress is definitely there, we have not set the dates but we must have it by the 30th of October next year,” said Mwonzora before referring further questions to Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda.
Until now, Mwonzora has been touted as Chamisa’s likeliest challenger, but the Daily News can report that it is Mudzuri who is now girding his loins for the throne.
Yesterday, Mudzuri could neither confirm nor deny that he wants to contest for the highest office in the opposition.
“When the time comes, I will tell the people what position I want,” Mudzuri told the Daily News yesterday.
Sibanda said his boss is ready to be contested at congress.
“The National Council made an undertaking that they will be preparations for a congress but the dates will be announced in due course. The president is the most ardent supporter of democracy. He is never against being contested. He is ready to be contested by anyone and will listen to the will of the people,” Sibanda told the Daily News.
While addressing the MDC’s 19th anniversary rally on Saturday, Chamisa appealed to his potential internal challengers to hold their horses.
The MDC leader, who lost in the July 30 elections to President Emmerson Mnangagwa by a wafer-thin margin, told thousands of his supporters that removing him now would poke holes into Tsvangirai’s legacy.
“I have told my colleagues in the top leadership that none of us should go wayward because it will be akin to a fish taking itself out of water where it cannot survive,” Chamisa said.
“So, we need to continue to follow Tsvangirai’s way, the party’s ways. Tsvangirai left power for me so that I will also pave way for the next leader, in that order. We don’t want a situation whereby someone would want to grab from me what I was given by Tsvangirai before I even start the journey he set me to embark on, yet you don’t even know what he wanted me to achieve. Why don’t you wait for me to accomplish that first, then I will also show you the way when you eventually take over?” he asked rhetorically.
Earlier, Chamisa had jokingly asked his deputy Mudzuri if he did not believe that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had rigged his way to power.
This was after Mudzuri had not raised his hand when Chamisa asked who among the thousands present agreed with him that the July 30 elections had been rigged in Zanu PF’s favour.
“I see you have kept your hands down when I asked the question. Does this suggest that you do not believe that the election was rigged,” Chamisa asked Mudzuri, tongue-in-cheek.
Only recently, Chamisa called Mudzuri to order during the party’s National Standing Committee meeting for engaging in perceived acts that could undermine unity in the party.
This was after Mudzuri had been linked to a controversial Twitter post expressing the desire to challenge Chamisa at the party’s elective congress. – Daily News