IN A move that underscores both the lack of leadership and senselessness of the turmoil that is consuming the MDC, Nelson Chamisa has barred his once close associates from speaking to the media.
This comes as more cracks are emerging within the MDC Alliance, a pact of several political parties that is involved in a fierce battle for the control of the country’s main opposition, the MDC – which is currently under the interim leadership of Thokozani Khupe.
It also comes after the MDC Alliance was rocked by the surprise departure this week of veteran politicians and former Cabinet ministers Tapiwa Mashakada and Paurina Mpariwa from the pact, as unbridgeable rifts between Chamisa and some of his top allies become more publicly manifest.
At the same time, the MDC Alliance is also facing serious financial problems, to the extent that it has now gone public begging for urgent assistance from well-wishers.
Now, after weeks of mindless brawling among MDC bigwigs, Chamisa has moved to muzzle some of his most loyal associates – including Alliance vice presidents Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kore, as well as firebrand deputy national chairperson Job “Wiwa” Sikhala – barring them from speaking to the media.
Curiously, well-placed MDC sources told the Daily News yesterday, the surprise gag order came after Biti and Sikhala had featured prominently in the independent press last weekend, including the Daily News – and at a time that Chamisa is looking increasingly out of his depth in terms of giving direction to the embattled Alliance.
“Chamisa has gone completely bonkers. How else can anyone explain the sudden gagging of senior members such as Biti and Sikhala?
“At a time that he needs more voices fighting in his corner to expose Zanu-PF’s games and machinations in the current chaos, he is doing the opposite, muzzling his allies.
“His friends say he is threatened by these (Alliance) heavyweights and also feels that the media are raising the profiles of his senior officials at his own expense.
“This is ridiculous … It’s rank madness akin to cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face,” a senior MDC Alliance official said.
A close Chamisa ally, Chalton Hwende, confirmed the development saying the gag order was consistent with the MDC Alliance’s constitution.
“Regarding communication, the correct position is that we are coming up with a social media protocol for the party because we cannot regulate individuals’ social media accounts.
“We can only manage the party’s and the constitution is clear that only the president, the secretary-general, his deputy and the spokesperson speak on behalf of the party,” Hwende told the Daily News.