Plot to bar Chamisa from MDC congress

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MOSES MATENGA

The camp of the MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, has made sensational claims of a plot to block him from attending and participating in the party’s congress set for this year. The party is preparing for a congress to pick a new leadership following the death of the former party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who succumbed to colon cancer in February last year.

Chamisa’s spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda, confirmed the plot saying a number of party followers, from the grassroots to the leadership, have been approached by outsiders to cause chaos and orchestrate an anti-Chamisa campaign ahead of the congress in a bid to bar him from contesting.

“We have identified such a plot,” Sibanda told the Business Times. “A few surrogates are working to bar Chamisa from attending the congress and cause chaos at the congress. They have been trying to build up their case for some time now and we know it. Their agenda is to try and create a one-party state by destroying the MDC.”

Sibanda added: “Their main target is Chamisa. They want to make us bankrupt so that the MDC doesn’t exist. They think they have recruited big enough surrogates but they must know [Chamisa] has built a big enough party ever since taking office.”

Sibanda said some of the people approached are in the party’s different structures, and the plot has been going on for over six months now.

There is still confusion over when the party’s congress will take place. Moves have been made in recent days to have the congress in February in line with the party’s constitution that says a congress should be held within a year of a sitting president’s departure. But Chamisa’s loyalists argue that the congress should take place only when it is due – in October.

Jacob Mafume, the party’s spokesperson, told the media: “Constitutionally, the latest time the congress has to be held is in October, but the National Council (NC) can determine otherwise. Hopefully, the issue will be dealt with when the NC meets next.”

Chamisa rose to the party’s top post after the death of Tsvangirai, amid protests from other party vice presidents, Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe, who accused him of grabbing power.

Mudzuri and Khupe complained that they were the legitimate replacements for Tsvangirai. But Chamisa cemented his authority, forcing Khupe to break away but retaining the MDC-T name. Khupe was supported by Obert Gutu, the former party spokesperson and now party vice president; and Abednico Bhebhe, the former national organising secretary, among others.