THE MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa last night went into overdrive and attacked Hatfield legislator Tapiwa Mashakada, labelling him a Zanu-PF agent who was once a ruling party’s youth league branch chairman at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) in the 1990s.
The fallout came after Mashakada, in a video interview Sunday afternoon, said while it was strategic to let Chamisa take over by any means following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018, the opposite party made a “stupid” mistake by not going for an extraordinary congress to cure the error.
Immediately after the Mashakada online interview with Sly Media TV, MDC Alliance officials started revealing details painting the Hatfield legislator as an old guard who was bitterbyhat younger leaders were coming up the ranks of the party. This was after Mashakada had said Chamisa was now surrounded by a “cabal” of former student leaders who were turning him into a dictator.
MDC Alliance officials, in particular Pedzisayi Ruhanya, labelled Mashakada as having been Zanu-PF right from the beginning. Mashakada is one of the founder members of the MDC led by Tsvangirai.
Wikileaks revelations by former MDC Treasurer, the late Roy Bennett, were also dug up by angry MDC officials, the most trending one being a 2007 interview between Bennett and US Embassy in South Africa officials.
“In a November 2 (2007) meeting with PolOff at the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) offices in Johannesburg, MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett (strictly protect) said he was “over the moon” with MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership in recent weeks,” one of the cables reads.
“After years of inaction, Tsvangirai was finally “cleaning house.” Tsvangirai made the right decision in replacing Lucia Matibenga as head of the MDC Women’s Assembly Congress, Bennett said, hinting strongly that Matibenga was on the payroll of ZANU-PF.
“Bennett alleged that current MDC National Organizing Secretary Elias Mudzuri and Deputy Secretary General Tapiwa Mashakada were also “compromised” and would soon be replaced. 3. (C) Bennett also reported that the MDC is finally putting systems in place to manage people and resources properly. He credited George Sibetshiwe, who is serving as Tsvangirai’s de facto chief of staff, for organizing Harvest House and allowing Tsvangirai to focus on his key tasks. (NOTE: Sibetshiwe formerly worked for Bennett at the MDC South Africa office. END NOTE.)
“Bennett has also put a new security team around Tsvangirai, which is trained and “professional.” 4. (C) The recent press attacks on Tsvangirai claiming that he is dictatorial and disorganized are largely coming from the Trevor Ncube-owned newspapers The Standard and The Independent, Bennett said. Ncube is even using the South African weekly, the Mail & Guardian, which he owns to publish “lies” about Tsvangirai and the MDC.
“Bennett claimed that Ncube has a personal vendetta against Tsvangirai, and is working with former GOZ Information Minister Jonathan Moyo in his campaign.”
On the appointment of Fadzayi Mahere by Chamisa to the party’s national spokesperson, Mashakada said: “There is a big debate within the party, about how people like Fadzayi Mahere became the mouthpiece of the party before she had five years in the party. That is wrong. That has to be corrected.”
The MDC Alliance Mashonaland West Women’s Assembly has since thrown its weight fully behind Mahere after her appointment was publicly condemned by Mashakada.
“Women are the torchbearers of our struggle and we applaud and support the recent appointment of Fadzayi Mahere to the post of MDC Alliance Spokesperson by our able president Advocate Nelson Chamisa.
“President Chamisa is indeed our top change agent as he is changing the dynamic of self-promotional politics to team-oriented, service style leadership in order to achieve the change that delivers,” the women’s assembly said in a statement.
Ruhanya said Mashakada was insecure as he had been an MP for 20 years with nothing to show the people of Hatfield for it.
“Hon Mashakada has been MP since 2000. He knows it’s time up and the MDC supporters in Hatfield will remove him 2023. He wants to be MP for eternity,” Ruhanya said.
He added: “He (Mashakada) was Zanu-PF UZ Branch chairperson and in 1999 he was a member of the ZANU-PF appointed Constitutional Commission boycotted by the National Constitutional Assembly that brought together labour, students, women and intellectuals chaired by Tsvangirai. That’s Hon Mashakada!”
However, some MDC Alliance supporters were quick to tell Ruhanya that even Morgan Tsvangirai, the founding party leader was a Zanu-PF member at some point in time.
Said Artwell Nyakanda: “There was no other party in Zimbabwe at that time was there? Remember Tsvangirai had a Zanu pf card and when asked he said what other party was there to follow before MDC was formed? You know better. This game of labelling everyone who differs with us is not helping matters.”
Ruhanya wwas adamant that Mashakada was a Zanu-PF spy for the past 20 years, adding that among the top crop of MDC leadership since 1999, it was “only Mashakada who was never arrested”.
“Mashakada thinks that by working with ZANU-PF, a regime project to destroy the opposition, he can come and hallucinate about Nelson Chamisa and succeed. It’s too late Hon MP, the people know that everything is organised from the President’s Office (CIO). Nobody believes you.
“And while we’re at it, why are you the only senior MDC MP to never have arrested?”
Despite the labelling of differing leaders as Zanu-PF, the MDC Alliance under Chamisa has also embraced former Zanu-PF top officials.
Among the former ruling party officials who are working with Chamisa are Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Shadreck Mashayamombe, Jonathan Moyo and former Chipangano leader and self-confessed killer of MDC supporters, Jim Kunaka.
At one point or another, at least five top leaders of the MDC have been labelled Zanu-PF agents each time they differed with their colleagues.
Among them are Tendai Biti who left in 2014 to form his own PDP party, calling Tsvangirai worse than Mugabe.
Welshman Ncube, Job Sikhala and Lucia Matibenga, among others, have also been previously labelled State security agents by their colleagues in the opposition movement.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance Secretary-General Chalton Hwende has dismissed the statement by Mashakada that both Mashakada and Paurina Gwanyanya-Mpariwa had been expelled from the Chamisa faction.
“The MDC Alliance has not expelled Hon Mashakada and Hon Mupariwa contrary to media reports and insinuations by Hon Mashakada in his interview today. No MP has also tendered any resignation from the MDC Alliance,” Hwende said.
However, the MDC Alliance is also not in a position to recall any MP from Parliament as the courts declared it not a legal persona. – Zimbabwe Voice