MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has threatened to banish Charlton Hwende and Shakespeare Mukoyi from the party because of their ‘‘wayward’’ conduct during the movement’s on-going primary elections.
Hwende, a national standing committee member and Mukoyi, who is the deputy MDC youth assembly chairperson, are enmeshed in a bitter war of words as they seek to outdo each other in their battle to represent the party in Kuwadzana East constituency in elections set for July 30.
So vicious has been the battle that both parties are going at each other hammer and tongs, exposing sensitive issues in the MDC — a development that insiders said has forced Chamisa to read the riot act on his lieutenants.
MDC national chairperson Morgen Komichi told the Daily News on Wednesday that it was really not Chamisa per-se who censured Hwende and Mukoyi, saying it was a collective party decision.
“As a party, we do not encourage quarrels. We have cautioned the two candidates; they have put the party’s name into disrepute. The issue is not about president Chamisa only, but we warned the two as a party with the leadership of our president,” he said.
Sources privy to the goings on within the MDC told the Daily News the quarrelling parties are making frantic efforts to persuade Chamisa to give them another chance.
“The president is not amused by the two’s conduct, especially given that they are both his close friends who should know more than anyone else that their actions will put not only the name of the party, but also that of the president into disrepute hence he has called them to order,” a national executive member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
“Other people felt they should be given a chance to mend their ways so they persuaded Chamisa to soften his stance so they will be given another chance to either settle for a consensus candidate or go for peaceful elections and desist from hate speech and any other actions that have potential to drag the party’s name into the mud”.
In the run-up to the primary election that was abandoned midway amid allegations of rigging, Hwende alleged that Mukoyi was moving around with a gun, threatening to kill him if he was not elected the MDC candidate for Kuwadzana East.
On the other hand, Mukoyi accused some unnamed party leaders, including Hwende, of attempting to dump him after using him through to ensure Chamisa emerged as successor to the late founding party president Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of former vice president Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri.
Mukoyi appeared to suggest that he and the youths who go by the moniker The Order of the Vanguard had been responsible for the violence meted out against Khupe in Bulawayo last year and at Tsvangirai’s funeral in Buhera.
As a result, Khupe’s camp is now planning to subpoena Mukoyi in their court battle with Chamisa over the leadership of the party to explain how the MDC youth wing helped the 40-year-old usurp power before Tsvangirai’s death on February 14.
“Shackie Mukoyi will be one of our star witnesses when the High Court trial kicks off. Oral evidence is the best. Brace up for extremely interesting revelations and confessions,” tweeted Khupe’s deputy, Obert Gutu.
Mukoyi, however, said Khupe should instead come to terms with “the reality that the highest decision-making body of the MDC in-between congresses — the national council — made a decision that Chamisa was the president and that will not change”.
“She (Khupe) is a senior member of the party and I wonder why she is wasting time on issues she knows have since been resolved and will not be revisited.”
Chamisa and Khupe are locked in a vicious power struggle over who between them is the legitimate MDC president and the use of the party name and logo.
The wrangle was spawned by Tsvangirai’s death in February, after succumbing to cancer of the colon.
Chamisa’s claim to the MDC leadership is on account of a national council resolution that elevated him to lead the party into this year’s elections pending an extraordinary congress in less than a year.
Khupe, who has since held her own congress in the party’s name, however, argues that she is the legitimate leader. Her camp accuses its rivals of endorsing the activities of the Vanguard. Daily News