Fresh war erupts in opposition over name Nelson Chamisa

Political Editor

A FRESH war has erupted in the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC amid strong disagreements on whether the party should stick to the disputed MDC Alliance name or change to the proposed Citizens Convergence for Change (CCC).

This comes as MDC leader Mr Douglas Mwonzora has made it clear that the name MDC Alliance belongs to them and that for future plebiscites they will stick to the brand that was adopted by seven political parties on the eve of the 2018 elections.

His stance has, however, triggered infighting in the already fractured MDC led by Mr Chamisa as some within that organisation want to keep the name while another faction wants a name change.

According to the Alliance agreement signed by seven opposition parties, whoever is the leader of the MDC is automatically the leader of the MDC Alliance, and it is on that basis that Mr Mwonzora is laying claim to the name.

The differences in the Chamisa-led opposition also comes at a time when the party’s embattled leader is accused by some of his loyalists of abandoning them and aligning with lawyers.

On one camp is the party’s vice president Mr Tendai Biti who has publicly expressed his views that the party should stick to its name MDC, which has over the past two decades been characterised by endless squabbles and splits.

While the party’s secretary general Mr Chalton Hwende and his allies are pushing for the adoption of the name CCC, a name that insiders say is tantamount to equating Mr Chamisa with the whole political organisation as he is also known by a similar moniker-  CCC (Chamisa Chete-Chete).

Mr Chamisa himself has hinted at a name change with Mr Hwende being one of the main proponents of the move.

However, in an interview with a local publication, Mr. Biti threw expletives at Mr Mwonzora arguing that the MDC cannot change its name.

“My own strong opinion is that we cannot abandon the name MDC, it will be a moral victory for Zanu PF. However, to manage elections we can use another suffix other than Alliance, in my respectful opinion we already have it, that is MDC Chamisa,” said Mr Biti.

Although Mr Hwende was not picking up his phone yesterday, a senior party official who spoke on condition of anonymity downplayed the divisions.

“We are a democratic party and we have initiated debate for Zimbabweans to choose the name they prefer, there is nothing wrong with that,” he said.

Mr Tapiwa Mashakada, a former ally of Mr Chamisa recently scoffed at the move to rename the party saying his erstwhile colleagues have no one but themselves to blame for the mess they are currently bogged in.

“They have decided to form a new party called CCC or Citizens Convergence Coalition, a euphemism for Chamisa Chete Chete. We wish them good luck. Sooner or later blind CCC followers will realize the tomfoolery of following an individual rather than a party. The party is greater than individuals. My brother Nelson missed the opportunity to lead a united MDC by defying the Supreme Court judgment and coming out as an anti-rule of law guy. This was most unfortunate and I blame (MDC-A secretary-general Chalton) Hwende and the cabal for allegedly ill advising Chamisa,” said Mr Mashakada.

After losing the battle for control of the MDC, Mr Chamisa and his allies approached the courts in an attempt to stop the recalling of MPs from Parliament but again they lost, something that Mr Mashakada attributed to a lack of strategy.

The MDC is now split between Mr Chamisa’s MDC-A, which is a party only in name, and the MDC-T led by Mr Mwonzora, which is the country’s biggest opposition party in terms of parliamentary representation.

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