By Pekin Mupasiri
In the run-up to the 2023 elections what was unique about the opposition was the omni-presence of Nelson Chamisa.
He was everywhere, explicitly highlighting the equally unnerving absence of his supposed deputies Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube.
In the euphoria of the supposedly impeding victory against ZANU PF that awkward fact never became a hot topic.
It remained a simmering subject, effervescing but never exploding.
The Hidden Hand
However Sengezo Tshabangu’s letter this week resurrecting the 2019 MDC-Alliance Congress results provides a revealing moment in this power play.
Tshabangu is forthright in pointing how the shunning of results from that Congress was wrong.
“Our party’s membership and supporters were profoundly perturbed and watched helplessly when the party’s National Leadership elected at the Gweru Congress in 2019 was quietly but effectively and unceremoniously purged unconstitutionally and displaced through opaque processes.
(This was done) under dark circumstances that left a gaping vacuum that was illegally filled by a handful of scheming individuals with a nefarious agenda.
“Some of them with no history in the democratic movement — who had neither a mandate nor the requisite experience to implement the people’s agenda and programme of action for the change that the citizens expect and deserve.
It is clear that the person accused of purging the leaders from the Gweru Congress is Chamisa.
Chamisa brought the novel Strategic Ambiguity idea of a CCC that had only him and few individuals with clear roles.
The rest where branded mere Change Champions.
A perusal of the 2019 Congress structure provides a clear indication of what may be going on.
Gweru Congress Structure
Douglas Mwonzora defended his SG position against Chamisa ally, Charlton Hwende, and Fortune Daniel Molokele.
Hwende emerged the winner with a resounding 2,099 votes to Mwonzora’s 721, while Molokele was third with 577.
The vice-presidency was a predictable affair, with Tendai Biti and Prof Welshman Ncube joined by Lynette Kore as the third pick.
David Coltart was elected the new Treasurer-General and the Chairman was Thabitha Khumalo, her deputy being Job Sikhala.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s daughter, Vimbai, was elected Women’s Assembly Secretary-General in her absence.
This is the structure which Chamisa is accused of having usurped and swept away to create a personal hegemony where he has been running things alone.
When Chamisa brought in Strategic Ambiguity Biti, Ncube, Kore, Khumalo, Sikhala and essentially the entire executive lost those positions.
They became ordinary party members.
The most effective cover being that CCC was a new party.
However, the many historical connections to the old MDCs which CCC has retained constantly betray how and why CCC was a rebranding exercise and not essentially a new party.
That provides enough salt for internal frictions by those who feel purged unfairly.
Considering how both Biti and Ncube were sidelined and effectively reduced in the run-up to the 2023 elections its very tempting to see where Tshabangu may be coming from.
The hands and power behind his machinations become even more clear.
While the ZANU-PF hand is attractive to accuse for crafting this mess various other internal signals point elsewhere.
Most disturbing is the Sources Media audio in which Biti is heard essentially confirming involvement in the Tshabangu saga.
Though he has denied it the available pieces, as instruments for assumptions and deduction, can easily connect revealing an internal scheme against Chamisa by those angered by their purging.
Same with Professor Ncube who has been posting cryptic posts and when accosted directly about the issue referred to it derisively as child’s play.
Ncube said emphatically that he did not want to be involved in ‘kindergarten politics.’
Other opposition players have also hinted why this is essentially an internal matter by aggrieved members.
Kucaca Phulu, former PDP member, also signaled at the same when he cautioned against a radical attack on Tshabangu.
“What is transpiring in CCC is regretable.
“Protagonists must prioritize engaging rather than insults.
“This is test of leadership. Ignoring Tshabangu and saying he is not a member of CCC is ill advised. Engage!
In the aftermath of the High Court effectively confirming Tshabangu’s role and powers it remains to be seen how things will play out.
Will the rest of the hidden players remain in the shadows or they will now emerge and claim their victory?