CRACKS continue to widen in the MDC-T, with deputy presidents, Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri engaging in a public spat at an MDC-Alliance rally at Huruyadzo shopping centre in Chitungwiza yesterday, after the former barred the latter from speaking on behalf of the party, claiming he was anointed by party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai to lead the grouping.
MDC Alliance is an electoral pact of seven political parties led by Tsvangirai, whose absence due to ill-health has triggered serious power wrangles in the biggest opposition party.
In the absence of Tsvangirai, Mudzuri is the acting president, while Chamisa leads activities to do with the alliance, stoking serious power struggles in the former labour-backed party ahead of the 2018 polls.
Problems began yesterday when Mudzuri was invited to the stage to speak, but Rosiwita Madzivire, from Zimbabwe People First, an opposition party led by Agrippa Mutambara that is part of the alliance, sat him down in favour of Chamisa.
Mudzuri had arrived late when other principals were already at the rally and tension had been rising at the high table after Chamisa reportedly decided to give him the periphery role of giving the vote of thanks.
Unhappy with the decision, Mudzuri objected, saying he was the acting president of the party and should have a slot to speak, leading to a showdown at the high table that was again quelled by some alliance partners.
This forced Mudzuri to snub a slot to address the rally and the situation was made worse when Madzivire objected to him speaking when his name was called out.
The vote of thanks was later given by Settlement Chikwinya, a member of the People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti.
Mudzuri snubbed the Mutare rally last week after his name was missing from the programme.
This followed a showdown at the first rally in Epworth, when he was again barred by Chamisa from speaking, and allocated the role of giving the vote of thanks.
Mudzuri yesterday did not speak at the rally.
While addressing the rally, Chamisa affirmed his position and told party supporters that he was Tsvangirai’s main representative in the alliance.
“I met president Tsvangirai, two days ago and I brought the message from him that he was happy with the work we are doing,” he said.
“I represent Tsvangirai whatever good is coming from my mouth is from him and whatever bad coming from my mouth attribute it to me.”
Chamisa later called to the stage former MDC founders, who included Morgan Femai, Job Sikhala, Biti and Ncube and left out Mudzuri before telling the gathering that Tsvangirai wanted the party to be as strong as they were in 1999.
The Kuwadzana East MP said the alliance will demand an audit of biometric voter register (BVR) next month, to see if there are no ghost voters.
He said President Emmerson Mnangagwa must bring election monitors immediately, if he was committed to holding free and fair elections.
“Our elections must be monitored by Sadc, AU (African Union), EU (European Union), Britain and America.
“We do not want soldiers in our villages, they must not be used to push Zanu PF agenda.”
MDC leader, Ncube fuelled the Chamisa-Mudzuri drama when he also told supporters that Tsvangirai called him to his residence on January 6 and told him that Chamisa will represent MDC-T leader in his absence.
Biti said the 2018 election will finish off what they started in 1999.
He said domestic debt has exceeded $7,2 billion and the alliance was the only formation that can restore economic stability in the country.
Biti said 95% of Zimbabwe’s population is living on less than 35 cents a day and the alliance will transform the economy within a short space of time, as they are trusted internationally.
The PDP leader further said Mnangagwa will bring no change to the country and there was no difference between him and his predecessor, former leader, Robert Mugabe.
Transform Zimbabwe leader, Jacob Ngarivhume told the gathering that Mnangagwa will not bring the change Zimbabwe needed.
He said the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation must air their programmes and offer the people the chance to choose their leaders wisely.