This comes as analysts warned yesterday that the move to jettison Mwonzora for narrow political gains could have another devastating consequence for the MDC, following the party’s numerous strategic blunders and avoidable splits of the past two decades.
This comes as the fissures in the country’s main opposition party are beginning to get out of hand again with violence rearing its ugly head at the party’s national headquarters in Harare over the weekend.
Amid the chaos is a push by a party faction that claims loyalty to MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to jettison former secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora — who has declared that he is going nowhere, branding those agitating for his ouster as “cowards”.
Mwonzora confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that his car had been damaged at the weekend during violent skirmishes between party supporters claiming allegiance to Chamisa and those opposed to him. The violence occurred during and after the party’s meeting of its National Executive Council (Nec).
This comes as Mwonzora has been in the firing line of the party supporters claiming allegiance to Chamisa, ever since he expressed his desire to challenge the youthful opposition leader in the run-up to the Gweru congress in May last year.
Surprisingly, Chamisa himself has not shown any overt hostility to Mwonzora — whom he appointed to the post of deputy secretary for international relations in the party, after the former failed to get any nominations in Gweru.
On Saturday, placard-waving youths said to be sympathetic to Mwonzora arrived at the party headquarters and went on to denounce Chamisa and his key allies.
This did not go down well with youths who say they are “loyal” to Chamisa — who responded by engaging in violence, resulting in Mwonzora’s car being targeted during the fracas.
The MDC youth assembly pointedly accused Mwonzora of fanning divisions in the party, which has been dogged by power wrangles since Tsvangirai’s death.
The party youth also accused Mwonzora of having “sponsored” the people who had denounced Chamisa and his leadership.
In the meantime, the MDC lead- ership wrangles have since spilled to the Supreme Court — which last month reserved its judgment after Chamisa challenged an earlier High Court ruling nullifying his leadership of the party.
This development has apparently worsened Mwonzora’s situation, with some party youths demanding his summary sacking on suspicions of him having “engineered” the court challenge which nullified Chamisa’s leadership.
But Mwonzora has said that he is not going to yield to the push to have him expelled from the party.
Mwonzora has had a love-hate relationship with some MDC big- wigs and youth assembly members since he expressed interest to con- test Chamisa at the party’s Gweru congress.
Then, Chamisa’s allies were also miffed by High Court judge Edith Mushore’s contentious ruling which put the MDC’s preparations for that congress in disarray.
Mwonzora’s rivals stepped up their assault on him by accusing him of having had advance knowledge of the court’s verdict.
Mushore not only nullified Chamisa’s appointment as president of the MDC, but also reversed his and Elias Mudzuri’s appointments as MDC vice presidents by Tsvangirai.
The ruling followed a court application by MDC member Elias Mashavira who challenged Chamisa’s ascendancy to the party’s leadership, which he said happened in violation of its constitution.
Recently, there were also calls for disciplinary action against Mwonzora for travelling to Sweden with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, and legislators Kindness Paradza and Joshua Sacco of Zanu-PF for a re-engagement diplomatic mission.
But upon his return, he had presented a report to the party, where he said the Swedish government had told Mudenda’s delegation that they would only support Zimbabwe if Mnangagwa held talks with Chamisa.
The MDC was hit by power struggles shortly after the death of Tsvangirai, when Chamisa assumed the party reins ahead of his rivals – albeit, under controversial circumstances.
A titanic leadership battle subsequently ensued, which eventually led to Khupe forming a breakaway faction which went on to perform dismally in last year’s elections.