The battle for the MDC continues as arch rivals Nelson Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora are set to face off within the next three months. Zanu PF has already nominated its favourite candidate in Mwonzora, who is the current secretary general of the MDC
By Ophias Kurauone.
Nevertheless, hardliners within MDC Alliance are not tolerating any party member who is keen to challenge the current President, Nelson Chamisa.
The race for the top post began in February 2018 after the death of the founding president, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai. In line with the MDC Constitution of 2014, in the event of the death or resignation of the President, the Deputy President assumes the role of Acting President pending the holding of extraordinary congress.
However, the complexity of MDC Alliance having three deputy presidents at the time of Morgan Tsvangirai’s death brought confusion to whether the “elected” deputy president or “appointed” deputy president should take over the reign.
In line with the constitution, the national council filled the vacancy left by the great icon, Morgan Tsvangirai by nominating Nelson Chamisa as the Acting president instead of Thokozani Khupe the long-time deputy president of the MDC was who was duly elected at the 2014 Congress.
The issue of who takes over the top post as the substantive President of MDC is eclipsing the current political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Rivals are working day and night campaigning for their favourite candidate and this attracts media headlines in both print and electronic media particularly state media.
In a rare move, which is viewed by some political analysts and MDC family as a tactical approach by ZANU PF to destroy MDC, the perennial rival political party is publicly supporting Douglas Mwonzora for the MDC Alliance top post. The State media prefer the current MDC Alliance Secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora at the expense of Chamisa whom they label as immature.
However, this is largely seen as a Zanu PF ploy to influence the MDC to elect a weaker candidate in Mwonzora with an eye on the 2023 national elections. Moreover; after Chamisa’s impressive performance in the 2018 presidential election against Mnangagwa, Zanu PF is determined not to face him in 2023 by hook and crook.
While democracy is painful and hard, neutrals prefer a transparent and credible process without external interference. Not to be outdone, Douglas Mwonzora has vowed to contest for any post if nominated in line with the party constitution.
While the battles for top post intensifies across the MDC family with two main candidates expected to compete for the top post namely Nelson Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora, the party must create a conducive election environment to allow the Congress to elect new leaders based on merits not nepotism or duress.
This will go a long way to unite the party and finish off the race left by Morgan Tsvangirai. Losers should support the winner and the victor must reciprocate by accommodating them in the party. The MDC family should take a leaf from Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa who appointed his rival Nkosana Dlamini as the minister.
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