- “We know that our major opponents ZANU-PF and the party that is led by Advocate Chamisa practice the same type of politics and it’s the politics of force, and we are coming in with a different approach, the politics of persuasion. Time will tell how that is going to roll out but as I said, we are five months old, I’ve been president for five months, but there is no day that passes without my name being mentioned.”
MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora has castigated his erstwhile colleague, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, for adopting politics of brutalising and rubbishing his opponents from the G40 cabal, signalling a growing feud between the two politicians.
Mwonzora, who has been viewed by critics as a ZANU-PF appendage, said he was outraged by Chamisa’s approach, suggesting it was high time the MDC-Alliance leader move away from the politics of intolerance and adopt the politics of rational disputation.
MDC-Alliance president Nelson Chamisa
Speaking on ZiFM Stereo on Monday this week, Mwonzora said a brighter horizon could only be secured if opposition parties pursue a new political approach of persuasion and abandon that of brutalising and rubbishing opponents.
“We have tried to be civil as the MDC-T and we are hoping that our friends within the opposition and friends within government will see that this is the time to change our politics, to move away from hate, to move away from intolerance, to a new politics of rational disputation,” Mwonzora said.
“We know that our major opponents ZANU-PF and the party that is led by Advocate Chamisa practice the same type of politics and it’s the politics of force, and we are coming in with a different approach, the politics of persuasion. Time will tell how that is going to roll out but as I said, we are five months old, I’ve been president for five months, but there is no day that passes without my name being mentioned.”
The relationship between Mwonzora and Chamisa soured after the Supreme Court ruled that the latter’s ascendancy to the helm of the party was illegitimate.
Mwonzora then took over Harvest House, the party’s headquarters.
Mwonzora, in his capacity as secretary-general, went on to recall several MDC Alliance legislators from Parliament and several councillors.
Mwonzora said they had ceased to be members of the MDC-T party after publicly showing allegiance to his former colleague Chamisa.
The MDC-T leader said Chamisa and his allies should stop the habit of name calling and be mature enough to come up with solutions to the current problems in the country.
“When I reached out to Advocate Chamisa, two days later he wrote a long article in which we were called names by implication and I have also heard his public broadcast referring to us as surrogates,” Mwonzora said.
He added: “Name calling has been the problem that they have engaged in, and I hope that people will grow up, people will mature, and see that this is not the answer to the current problems. Zimbabwe is a pluralist society, a democracy and in Zimbabwe every person is allowed to contest for political office. And when they do, there’s no need to hate them.”
Mwonzora said he had reached out to Chamisa on three occasions with little success as some MDC-Alliance members referred to him as a “sellout and ZANU-PF lite”. Jameson Timba, the secretary for presidential affairs, said there was a need for a doctor to examine Mwonzora’s head.
“Two weeks ago there was a leading story in one of the newspapers, ‘Chamisa is not my enemy, says Mwonzora’ and what followed was a barrage of hate on social media and threats, even threats to life. That is what presents a problem with people coming and speaking together even if they differ.”
Mwonzora said MDC-T was pushing for dialogue and electoral reforms.
“It is good that things are talked about, and they can be talked about only if people engage in dialogue.
“You can never redress those things which have polarised our people if you indulge in insults, polarise in language, insolent behavior and you don’t find one another.
But if you go to dialogue, and as will see some of the issues that will obviously populate the dialogue table are the issues of political reforms, electoral practice that you can only discuss and redress if you have dialogue.
“Our main thrust is to change the politics of Zimbabwe, to move away from the politics of hate, hunger, acrimony and violence, and adopt the politics of rational disputation.
“Now this is what Zimbabwe is waking up to and we are seeing the fruits of this policy.
“No need for hate language, and I’m happy to say that pursuant to our thrust for dialogue, we have been able to present before the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) our content proposals for dialogue in Zimbabwe and these mostly are for a procedural manner.
“I think what has happened is that there has been a growing skepticism about elections and in the Afrobarometer survey we see about 51% of the respondents say that they don’t think that elections are the solution to the Zimbabwean problem and there is need to adopt a new approach,” Mwonzora said.
He said his party has a membership of 1.5 million people.
“If we look at the structures, we have 1 958 wards which are current, and we have districts, some are not very full. The provinces are also full. So the membership has not really changed that much since the ideological rapture that took place on 31 March 2020 when the Supreme Court judgement was done. There was not a split in the MDC, it was ideological rapture,” Mwonzora said.
The MDC Alliance has in the past labelled Mwonzora a sell-out, who was fighting a petty agenda. ■