A split is looming in the opposition MDC-T party due to power struggles between leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and former national organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa, a local think tank has said.
Mr Chamisa, the charismatic Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana East, was reduced to an ordinary card-carrying member during the party’s congress last year after losing the race to become secretary general to Mr Douglas Mwonzora, a move that was allegedly engineered by Mr Tsvangirai.
Mr Chamisa has lost none of his clout, though, and a serious rift has grown between the two politicians which is feared to soon culminate in a split.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project, in its just-released report for October titled, “Internal Strife: A cancer in Zimbabwe’s Main Political Parties”, notes that apart from the skirmishes in the ruling Zanu-PF during its restructuring exercise, the rift between Messrs Tsvangirai and Chamisa was the main reason for intra-party violence in the period under review.
“Known for splintering and re-splintering, the opposition party‘s propensity for possible splits is always present with the party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai being pitted against Kuwadzana (East) legislator, Nelson Chamisa. Although the party still denies any rift, instances in certain areas, for example in Bulawayo following the death of Nkulumane legislator, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, among a few others, illuminate turbulences and power struggles within the party,” says the report.
The report notes that, “Conflict around specific personalities persists much to the threat of unity within the party.” It also chronicles a number of incidents across the country involving the MDC-T which have been fomented by the internal strife. It notes that factionalism has led to clashes in Harare and Chitungwiza, leading to disruption of meetings.
It is the same story in Norton where youths “are divided on allegiance to former legislator, Voice Chinake, and a new player Matemera, who wants to contest the Norton parliamentary seat in 2018”.
In Matabeleland South the party was “failing to hold meetings as a result of intra-party factional squabbles” while in Midlands, “(t)he environment has thawed a bit after the major drivers of inter-party violence shifted their energy and attention to factional fights within their political parties.”