SOME senior MDC-T officials are up in arms with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai for elevating Advocate Nelson Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri to the party vice presidency, a move they allege violated the MDC-T constitution.
MDC-T now has three vice presidents as Adv Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri join Ms Thokozani Khupe who had always been Mr Tsvangirai’s second in command.
It is believed Mr Tsvangirai appointed the pair ostensibly to ease political pressure after he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon in South Africa recently.
“Kindly be advised that the position of VP, in terms of the MDC constitution, is an elective post. In accordance with the amended party constitution, only the deputy secretary general, the deputy treasurer general, the deputy national organising secretary and the deputy national spokesperson are appointed positions, effectively meaning that the party president can appoint people to occupy these positions” a senior MDC-T official confided in The Herald yesterday.
The officials alleged that a faction aligned to Adv Chamisa “heavily lobbied Elizabeth Macheka”.
“Morgan Tsvangirai is totally broke and he desperately needs lots of money for his cancer treatment. He has virtually been held hostage by the people who are footing his medical bills,” said the official.
He named those footing Mr Tsvangirai’s hospitals bills as Chalton Hwende, Murisi Zvizvai and MDC-T Masvingo provincial chair James Gumbi and one Takanai Mureyi.
“Morgan Tsvingirai haana mari and so he is now being manipulated by sharks that are paying his medical bills. Hwende spends most of his time in Windhoek, Namibia, where his family is based,” added the official. He claimed Eng Mudzuri’s elevation was a smokescreen.
“Mudzuri has been elevated in order to placate him and to keep him in check. Otherwise, Morgan does not really like Mudzuri,” claimed the top MDC-T official.
Prior to their appointment, Adv Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri were mere national executive members after they failed to make it into the standing committee at the party’s last congress. Mr Chamisa lost to Mr Douglas Mwonzora in his bid to land the secretary-general’s post.
He remained influential and his appointment together with that of Eng Mudzuri has also been interpreted as a way of containing growing factionalism by Mr Tsvangirai.
A party official close to Mr Tsvangirai viciously defended the appointments and branded those voicing their concern noisemakers ignorant of the constitution despite having been in the party for many years.
“In between congresses, the national council has got the powers to fill in vacant positions. The constitution empowers MDC-T president to create any new positions within the national executive council of the party. He is also empowered to abolish and reassign portfolio secretaries. He also has power to create or appoint officers to those positions subject to confirmation by the national council which is the supreme decision-making body between congresses,” said the party official.
He added: “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the appointment of Chamisa and Mudzuri. Those people opposed to their appointments are ignorant of the MDC-T constitution including very senior people in the party are very ignorant of the MDC-T constitution. Most of them have been in the party for a very long time but do not read the party constitution.
“They assume things. Chamisa is a lawyer and there is nowhere he would cooperate with his appointment if it was unconstitutional. Those opposed to the appointments are factional players.”
The official said the two positions were new in the party and hence Mr Tsvangirai had to make appointments instead of waiting for congress in 2019.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu yesterday would not comment over the matter when contacted by The Herald.
“I am just arriving home from the airport. I was in Victoria Falls attending the Law Society of Zimbabwe winter school and would need time to familiarise myself with what transpired in my absence,” he said.
Those opposed to the appointment of the two MDC-T vice presidents stretch as far as arguing that Mr Tsvangirai negated regional balance of power as all the deputies have their roots in Masvingo.
Adv Chamisa is from Gutu while Eng Mudzuri comes from Zaka.
Although Ms Khupe comes from Matabeleland North, her mother is from Masvingo.