- "... in 2022, Zanu PF and the MDC-T MPs will make constitutional amendments to peg the presidential candidates’ minimal age at 50 in order to disqualify Chamisa,” it has emerged.
LEADING Zimbabwean weekly publication claims that there is an elaborate plan to block MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa from contesting the 2023 presidential elections, which will include stripping him of his party and assets.
The Thokozani Khupe-led outfit has been methodically decimating Chamisa’s base since the Supreme Court ruled in March that the MDC Alliance leader’s succession of Morgan Tsvangirai was illegal.
Khupe has been using the ruling to recall legislators and councillors from a party that defeated her in the previous elections.
On Friday she returned to Parliament as a proportional representation MP on an MDC Alliance ticket despite the fact that her MDC-T contested the 2018 polls against Zanu PF and Chamisa’s party.
A senior MDC-T official said the developments in the opposition were following a script that was crafted a long time ago and will culminate in Khupe’s party supporting constitutional amendments that will effectively shut Chamisa out of the forthcoming polls.
“The plot is like this: Zanu PF will support Khupe, decimate Chamisa and force him to form a new party and lose everything like party offices, safe houses and so forth,” said the official who requested to remain anonymous.
“Then in 2022, Zanu PF and the MDC-T MPs will make constitutional amendments to peg the presidential candidates’ minimal age at 50 in order to disqualify Chamisa,” a well-placed Zanu PF official disclosed.
“Chamisa will not run in 2023, he will only run in 2028 and by that time Zanu PF will have sponsored internal divisions over his leadership. In short, Chamisa is finished.”
In 2018, Zanu PF secretary for security Lovemore Matuke said the ruling party was contemplating using its two-thirds majority in Parliament to raise the age limit for presidential election candidates from 40 to 50.
Matuke claimed Chamisa, who was 40 at the time, was immature after he refused to accept President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s controversial election victory.
Chamisa says the polls, which he narrowly lost to the 77-year-old ruler, were rigged.
The main opposition leader also angered Mnangagwa by refusing to join the Political Actors Dialogue where Khupe is a member.
“Mnangagwa and Zanu PF will not forgive him for that. They know if he is left undisturbed, there is no way Zanu PF can win against him in 2023,” the MDC-T official added.
MDC-T interim chairman Morgen Komichi, however, dismissed allegations that his party was colluding with Zanu PF to neutralise Chamisa.
“As MDC, we are independent, we are not working with Zanu PF,” Komichi said.
“This is our conflict with Chamisa; it is an internal issue emanating from succession which has already been resolved by the court.
“We are now focusing on how we can bring order to the party so that we can confront Zanu PF in 2023.”
He added: “We are not recalling people as a practice; we recall when a member ceases to belong to our party.”
Zanu PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi also denied working with Khupe, saying the ruling party had a two-thirds majority in Parliament and does not need any help from the MDC-T.
“That is hogwash, Zanu PF has a majority in Parliament and it does not need the benevolence of any party to amend the constitution,” Mugwadi said.
“Those saying so do not know what two-thirds majority means.”
He said his party was not involved in the MDC squabbles.