Knives are out for Mudzuri

Jostling for positions in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has intensified, with reports that the party's organising secretary Elias Mudzuri is in the firing line due to incompetence.

There is a strong lobby by the younger generation within the MDC-T to take over influential positions in the party.

According to reports from meetings held last week, youths have decided to take over all the 10 provinces and there are indications that all the provincial chairmen are targets.

The fight for positions intensified last week after Tsvangirai announced that there would be major changes when the party holds its congress in May.

Mudzuri, who was fired as Minister of Energy by Tsvangirai last year for incompetence, is likely to be the biggest casualty at the congress as he is being accused of failing to re-organise the party. The former mayor of Harare was one of Tsvangirai’s closest allies but they are said to have fallen out. Most of the top guns are likely to sail through unopposed, among them Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, secretary-general Tendai Biti and spokesman Nelson Chamisa, who is being tipped to replace Mudzuri.

There are reports of massive lobbying amid revelations that campaigning has already started, with most senior party members already splashing out money to solicit votes. Last week Tsvangirai told MDC-T officials that they must prepare for big changes. "As we prepare for our historic congress, after two years in government, may I call on the people to ready themselves for far-reaching changes.

"The congress shall mark the beginning of the MDC’s renewal as the party gears itself for the total control of the government after the elections," he said.

"Our congress shall reaffirm our determination, our values and principles as a democratic movement. We shall use it as a first step in asserting our signature as a party of the people, a party of the future and the only discernible hope for all Zimbabweans."

A party insider told the Sunday Times that so far it looked like Mudzuri would be the most senior casualty. "Mudzuri’s position is the nerve centre of the party and in the past few years he has made enemies. Everyone seems to be ganging up against him and from the way things are going, he is finished. There is a strong lobby by the younger generation to take up senior positions and it seems to be working. That is why Chamisa is being lined up for the position. There seems to be consensus that Mudzuri must go.

"All the provincial chairmen are sweating over their positions," said the senior official.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said the MDC should present a better and more organised congress than its main rival, Zanu-PF.

"The MDC must make sure the democratic process takes place. The MDC congress must not be a circus like other congresses we have seen," said Ruhanya.

MDC-T officials declined to discuss the congress this week. – Times Live