FALLEN former MDC-T organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa is allegedly mulling forming his own party after he lost the party’s secretary-general post to dark horse Mr Douglas Mwonzora, who was the party’s secretary for information and publicity.
Mr Chamisa managed 1 762 votes for the secretary general’s post against Mr Mwonzora’s 2 464 at the party’s 4th congress held at the City Sports Centre in Harare over the weekend.
Sources in the party who are close to Mr Chamisa said he believes he has the political clout to mobilise some of the disgruntled party members and pull out of the party as he feels that MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai manipulated the election results in favour of Mr Mwonzora.
Mr Chamisa was avoiding speaking to journalists since his defeat, with newly elected MDC-T secretary for information and publicity Mr Obert Gutu saying he had received calls from more than 20 journalists inquiring why he was not picking up his phone.
“You are the 23rd journalist who has called me complaining that Mr Chamisa was either not reachable or not picking up is phone,” he said.
But sources close to Mr Chamisa said he was weighing chances of taking the party to the High Court to challenge the election process.
It is Mr Chamisa’s view, according to the sources, that the election was rigged in favour of Mr Mwonzora who only managed to get nomination from a single province against Mr Chamisa’s 11 provinces. They said Mr Chamisa had resolved to pull out of the party, but was being held back from abandoning ship now because of the parliamentary seat he holds.
Mr Chamisa is Kuwadzana East Member of the National Assembly and would likely lose his seat if he leaves the MDC-T and the party writes to Parliament disowning him. Shocked by the election results, Mr Chamisa quietly left the congress venue before announcement of the results after realising the impending defeat. Mr Chamisa is due to hold a press conference tomorrow to expound on his vision of leaving the party and form his own, the sources said.
“He has also resolved not to accept any appointment by Mr Tsvangirai,” said the sources. “Remember, in terms of the constitutional amendments railroaded by Mr Tsvangirai at congress, the standing committee has been expanded and the President is empowered to appoint some heads of portfolios, like secretary for elections.”
Another source said joining the MDC Renewal Team was still an option for Mr Chamisa, but it created a challenge in that he had pushed for the ouster of the then secretary general Mr Tendai Biti in his ambitious bid to take over the post.
“He knows Biti has not forgiven him for orchestrating that they be pushed out of the party,” he said.
Mr Chamisa is said to have fallen out of favour with Mr Tsvangirai who suspected that the youthful politician was too ambitious. Asked about reports that Mr Chamisa was mulling to pull out of the party, Mr Gutu said: “I cannot comment substantively on rumours. I have not spoken to him.”
Commenting on allegations that the election process was flawed, Mr Gutu said: “That is absolute and adulterated nonsense. The elections passed the test of legitimacy. They were conducted by an independent body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union.
“We cannot have a situation where we have people who feel that they should always win. People should accept that this is a congress where some win while others lose.”
In his analysis of the election outcome, former political adviser in the then Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s Office, Dr Alex Magaisa, blamed the party’s failure to have properly organised structures which attracted controversy during the internal polls.
“This was a cause of serious problems in the primary election process before the 2013 elections with disputes over who constituted the electoral colleges meant to vote for candidates. This caused serious divisions which caused resentment among members. There were serious complaints from across the country because of this weakness and going forward, the MDC needs to attend to it.
“As long as the structures remain unclear and vague, there will be problems in the internal electoral processes. That is a job that Abednico Bhebhe, the new commissar, has to deal with from the start.
“The differences in the structures and the ordinary members means, I am not surprised that Mwonzora may have lost in the nominations process, but won in the overall vote.”