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Chamisa, Mahere blue-tick supporters on party name change

By Shami Makombe

SUPPORTERS of the Nelson Chamisa-led opposition MDC Alliance have inundated the party’s communications platforms demanding to know why the leadership is failing to decisively deal with the issue of the party name in time for the by-elections.

Nomination court sits on Wednesday 26 January for the March 26 by-elections, and jittery opposition supporters believe a late announcement of the party’s name may disadvantage its candidates who are itching to inflict defeat on both the rival opposition MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora and the ruling Zanu PF.

The MDC-T triggered the majority of the 133 local ward and Parliamentary constituency by-elections after recalling elected officials who pledged allegiance to Chamisa.

Yesterday, the Chamisa camp held a day-long crisis meeting to map the way forward on the name to use in the forthcoming elections, but insiders say the meeting failed to reach a consensus with leaders heckling each other all day round.

Emerging from the meeting, MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere infuriated supporters when she skirted the issue of the party name and focused on a wide range of other issues such as last month’s death of party supporter Dewa Mavhinga.

Mahere also touched on the weekend release from prison of party youth executive member Makomborero Haruzivishe while saying her party was geared for the by-elections.

Asked about the issue of a party name now that the nomination court sits in just two weeks, Mahere brushed the question aside saying a decision will be announced at the appropriate time. The response has infuriated many supporters some of whom suspect the own goal was deliberate and an act of internal sabotage and infiltration into the party.

Journalist and political activist Hopewell Chin’ono warned the opposition party was walking itself into trouble as its elected officials could end up recognized as independent candidates as per the law.

“What will happen is simple. If Chamisa’s party goes in as MDC-Alliance. ZEC will recognize Mwonzora as Alliance, and Chamisa’s team will be reduced to Independents according to the Electoral Act.

“The choice is pragmatism or sentimentalism. The choice is theirs to make!” Chin’ono advised.

The award-winning journalist added: “It is better to use a new name now. If the system plays games, then it exposes it to the whole world when you have little to lose, than to do so in 2023 when you have everything to lose.

“Ultimately he (Chamisa” will lose the name to the puppets on the 26th (of January). The courts ruled on those MPs.

“Douglas didn’t ’t recall them as a strategic move. It makes no sense for Chamisa to insist on something that he will lose.”

This followed an earlier warning by party supporter and prominent UK-based lawyer Alex Magaisa, who used a loaded riddle to warn Chamisa that the MDC Alliance brand was no longer worth fighting for.

Magaisa also highlighted the importance of making a quick decision on the matter, saying: “We learn the following from Sun Tzu, the great war strategist of ancient China, “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight”. A wise general chooses his battles carefully. Some battles aren’t worth the effort and are best avoided. The best are won without fighting.”

On the other end of the political spectrum, President Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba reckoned that the Chamisa camp was just not prepared for the by-elections- financially and morally – and was therefore finding an excuse to not participate.

Tionesane hama neshamwari (here’s the real issue folks); MDC-Chamisa and other opposition parties do not want by-elections. Chamisa’s group have taken a provocative decision on party name in order to hide behind inconclusive litigation to avoid by-elections,” said Charamba.

An unimpressed party member Stanford Mbizo said the leadership had failed the people who look up to them to make critical, timely and strategic decisions.

“A name for a political party is more important than personalities. I maybe wrong here because we want to hero warship individuals but surely I expected the issue of the name to have bothered the leadership. They needed to take it up with grassroots. It’s a serious issue,” said Mbizo.

Brandon Gamu weighed in, saying: “No communication from the leadership on the party name. This is a big deal, leadership remains quite as if everything is alright. Supporters of the party deserve better.”

On his party, Chamisa too refused to be dragged into discussing the way forward but tweeted suggesting that there were “snakes” in the party.

Observers took this to mean that the party had been infiltrated and decision-making was now a difficult thing.

Various other MDC Alliance platforms are flashing red with angry supporter demanding explanations on the matter.

Feeling the heat, MDC Alliance Secretary-General Chalton Hwende attempted to douse the flame by suggesting that members should not panic. Hwende said everything was in good order and the right decisions would be made at the right times.

But his platform immediately turned into a social media war zone with supporters reminding him that the party leadership took exactly the same lackadaisical approach in 2020 and ended up losing party headquarters, elected officials and assets to Mwonzora.

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