Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday hinted that Nelson Chamisa could be co-opted into the MDC national executive.
The former prime minister told the Daily News in an exclusive interview in Harare yesterday that the 36-year-old’s sudden fall from power does not mean he stops taking a prominent role in the MDC.
Chamisa, touted as a potential successor to Tsvangirai, is the highest-ranking MDC official to lose re-election to a challenger since the movement rose to prominence in 1999. It is likely to go down as one of the most stunning defeats in MDC history.
Chamisa lost to Douglas Mwonzora, who is now the new MDC secretary-general.
“Nelson Chamisa, (Tapiwa) Mashakada, whoever may have felt they have not succeeded; they are leaders of the party,” Tsvangirai told the Daily News, also referring to Mashakada’s loss to Theresa Makone in the hot-contest for the treasurer-general’s post.
“They cannot just be card-carrying members. They have responsibilities to carry out.
“Losing a position does not mean you lose your role in the struggle. You can be deployed elsewhere.”
Tsvangirai said Chamisa’s loss was a repeat of the stunning upset at the 2011 MDC congress held in Bulawayo, in which party veteran Elias Mudzuri lost the organising secretary post to Chamisa.
“In 2011, (Elias) Mudzuri was not elected as organising secretary,” Tsvangirai told the Daily News.
“We co-opted him into the executive. He played his role in the executive effectively.”
Supporters of the Kuwadzana East MP allege that Chamisa resisted a raft of constitutional changes that had been proposed by Tsvangirai, and which were meant to dilute the powers of the secretary-general and centralise power in the MDC leader’s office.
This allegedly did not sit well with Tsvangirai and his supporters.
But Tsvangirai denied that there was a rift between him and Chamisa.
“There is no fallout between me and Chamisa, everyone knows. I don’t know why people want to find fissures that don’t exist,” he said.
Describing his relationship with Chamisa as a “father-son” relationship, Tsvangirai said the former student leader, who had until the weekend never lost an election since helping form the MDC in 1999, could still rebound.
“Well, it’s a sad outcome, you know my relationship with Nelson goes beyond just national, it’s personal; it’s a father-son relationship,” Tsvangirai said.
“However, I want to say that it’s a temporary setback. I am sure he is young enough to rebound.”
Ominously for Chamisa, the weekend party congress had resolved to concentrate power in the MDC leader’s office ahead of the ballot.
But Tsvangirai denied accusations that he was centralising power in his office.
He said sometimes instability arises because of confusion of roles.
“And you need role clarity to ensure there is more coherence than situations where there appears to be competition rather than cooperation,” Tsvangirai said.
“I am a believer in democracy. I have fought a dictatorship all my life. I cannot believe that centralising power in an individual is helpful to the organisation.” – Daily News