By Fungi Kwaramba
MDC youths yesterday sealed the party’s Harvest House headquarters prompting one of the vice presidents — Elias Mudzuri, who is locked in a vicious succession tussle with two other colleagues — to cancel his scheduled address to senior officials as the infighting reached frightening levels.
This comes as the long-serving founding party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is battling for life at a South African hospital where he is receiving treatment for cancer of the colon which has kept him from active involvement in the MDC affairs for the last four months.
But as his health has continued to worry his supporters and family, his senior officials in the MDC have been going at each other hammer and tongs, with different factions punting their preferred candidates to succeed the former PM.
Mudzuri was yesterday forced to issue a press statement from home after the youths said to be sympathetic to another vice president, Nelson Chamisa, barricaded the HQ.
Chamisa refused to comment.
“We say no to the politics of “jambanja” (lawlessness). Some leaders are abusing Alliance platforms to denigrate the leadership of MDC T.
“There is an escalation of divisive, hateful, intolerant, and egocentric behaviour that is causing major disservice to the party by narrowing the prospects of endearing ourselves to the electorate.
“Such behaviour portrays us as a disjointed and self-defeating party. This is the work of detractors bend on destroying the party from within, the same exact situation that we saw in Zanu PF where people were running parallel structures and programmes in defiance of party protocol and procedures,” said Mudzuri.
The MDC is in turmoil as the three party VPs are publicly fighting over who should act in the absence of Tsvangirai.
Until last week Monday, Mudzuri was the MDC acting president although he insists nothing has changed despite an announcement by Tsvangirai’s spokesman – Luke Tamborinyoka who said the ex PM had appointed Chamisa to take over the reins in temporarily – a statement which Mudzuri dismissed as a lie.
“For the record, President Morgan Tsvangirai has not tweeted for months because he hasn’t been well neither does he have access to any of his communication gadgets at the moment. This is abuse of the highest order,” Mudzuri said yesterday as he drew holes in Tamborinyoka’s recent statements.
“At this stage we are thoroughly engaged in seeking to resolve all sticking issues amicably to maintain party cohesion. We will not allow ourselves to be destroyed by the enemy from within,” he added.
There is seemingly no end in sight to the serious factional fighting that is devouring the MDC, as the infighting has spread to other provinces such as where one of the key figures has broken ranks with his regional comrades and is now punting Nelson Chamisa as his preferred candidate to succeed Tsvangirai.
Bulawayo Province has been viewed as the power base of one of the MDC‘s three vice presidents, Thokozani Khupe — who is the only elected senior figure among Tsvangirai’s deputies.
Khupe is often touted as the “Queen of Matabeleland” due to her perceived influence in the region.
The MDC has been witnessing factional fights for some time now, which have intensified ever since Tsvangirai hinted that he was thinking of quitting active politics due to his failing health.
Last week, Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka told journalists in Harare that he was still in charge of Tsvangirai’s communications, and that he had indeed been instructed by the former PM in the inclusive government to communicate the appointment of Chamisa as acting president.
At the same time, a letter said to have been issued by Tsvangirai, claimed that Mudzuri was still the MDC’s acting president. But Tamborinyoka said it was a hoax.
Last Friday, Tsvangirai’s family waded into the factional fights — appearing on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) confirming that Mudzuri had met Tsvangirai, prompting some people to allege that the family was taking sides in the MDC’s wars.
The family now also stands accused of ill-treating the former PM’s wife, Elizabeth — with close relatives of the MDC leader apparently accusing Elizabeth of backing Chamisa to succeed Tsvangirai.
All these sad developments are now said to have contributed to the rapid deterioration in recent days of the health of the former PM. Daily News