ENGINEER Elias Mudzuri says he will contest the post of president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Thokozani Khupe, which is expected to hold an extraordinary congress in December to replace the late MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, who died in 2018.
Mudzuri, who was one of Tsvangirai’s deputies when he died of cancer of the colon, told reporters in Harare Friday that he is determined to revive the party that has been riddled by factionalism.
He said, “If elected MDC-T president, I will bring back all those that have walked away or chased away from the MDC-T and form a united party to challenge Zanu-PF in 2023.
“We need to focus more on the 2023 general elections than infighting in MDC-T. I will spend time reflecting on developments in my party. I am offering my candidature and will greatly serve and bring change in the party and country.”
Mudzuri who said he was “best foot forward” to replace Tsvangirai added: “The EOC must quickly be dispensed with so that the unnecessary divisions are put behind us.
“Coming up with Dr M. R. Tsvangirai’s successor should not be a dog –eat- dog affair. As is being suggested by our structures, the members of the party must quickly and democratically build consensus around the ideal candidate before the event.
“The congress should just be there to endorse the candidate as has been since our inaugural congress in 2000. It should not be a difficult matter as all candidates are known to the Electoral College.
“As a matter of principle, all those who respect democracy, constitutionalism and fair play must never allow or be part of a process with a predetermined outcome and that does not meet the above standards which we demand from Zanu-PF all the time.
“Genuine democracy is a principle the heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle sacrificed for. It is one of the founding values behind the formation of the MDC.”
Mudzuri becomes the fourth senior official seeking election in a congress ordered by the Supreme Court, which declared as null and void Nelson Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC. The latter is under MDC Alliance.
The other likely contestants are Khupe, secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and chairperson Morgan Komichi.
Acting MDC-T organising secretary, Abednigo Bhebhe, claimed recently that Khupe and her colleagues are trying to manipulate the election process by dumping some people who were in the 2014 MDC structures, which the court deemed were eligible to seek posts and vote at the congress.
Khupe and others say they are taking stern measures on Bhebhe, noting that he violated some party regulations by filing a court application to challenge the electoral process of the MDC-T.
The Khupe formation has indicated that all people aligned to Chamisa’s MDC Alliance won’t be allowed to participate in the elective congress.
However, some members of the 2014 structures are insisting MDC Alliance Nelson Chamisa should be invited to the extraordinary congress and if he wants, he can contest in the elections.
Meanwhile, the late Tsvangirai’s brother, Manase Tsvangirai has endorsed Mudzuri’s bid for the presidency and Friday attended the launch.
Also, at Mudzuri’s launch was former MDC-T heavyweight and deputy mines minister during the now-defunct inclusive government, Gift Chimanikire. He is also a former trade unionist and worked with Tsvangirai during the late MDC-T leader time as the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.