By Mugove Tafirenyika
The MDC’s national standing committee (NSC) meets in the capital city tomorrow to finalise congress preparations amid serious jostling for positions among party bigwigs.
Slated to run from May 24 to 26, the elective congress is the first to be held following the death of the party’s founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February last year.
Tsvangirai, who succumbed to cancer of the colon, was replaced by 41-year-old Nelson Chamisa who has been leading the MDC since then.
Chamisa’s legitimacy as the MDC leader has always been questioned by detractors who argue that he “grabbed” power when Tsvangirai was on his death bed.
This led to one of Tsvangirai’s three deputies jumping ship to form her own MDC—T outfit. Elias Mudzuri — one of the three deputies — was also left disgruntled as he felt side-lined by the youthful MDC leader while secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora now believes that it is about time he assumes leadership of the party.
With congress dates now set, MDC insiders told the Daily News that emotions were running high ahead of the gathering.
Tomorrow’s NSC meeting comes as three antagonistic camps have emerged — one rallying behind Chamisa to remain at the helm of the MDC, the other gunning for Mudzuri while another is behind Mwonzora.
So bad have the relations become in the party that its deputy national chairperson Tendai Biti reacted angrily to recent suggestions by Zanu PF deputy youth secretary, Lewis Matutu that Mwonzora will upstage Chamisa.
Biti viewed the suggestion as Zanu PF’s way of endorsing Mwonzora and vowed that the MDC would resist anyone seconded to the party by their political nemesis.
Mwonzora did not take lightly the fact that Biti had called him names when he described him as a Zanu PF-linked “nincompoop”.
The MDC secretary-general has made it clear that he will raise the matter in tomorrow’s crunch meeting.
“We are working well together (with Chamisa), but some senior leaders in the MDC are resorting to hate language. I am going to raise it in the NSC we are holding this weekend,” Mwonzora was quoted saying at the weekend.
Mwonzora who had previously been keeping his cards close to his chest has expressed his desire to challenge Chamisa in a contest that could make or break his political career.
Already, the incumbent Chamisa has received endorsements from several party structures including provincial wings, with the youth league going as far as declaring war on anyone who would dare challenge the youthful opposition leader.
Several party heavyweights have also thrown their weight behind Chamisa with those who are seen as potential challengers likely to face a hostile reception in the run-up to the congress and at the elective indaba itself.
MDC vice president Morgen Komichi said it is difficult to predict what will happen at the meeting.
“We cannot judge what will happen before the matter is brought up for discussion but what I can tell you is that the party encourages dialogue first because you may realise that the issue is not as serious as you think,” Komichi said. DailyNews