By Staff Reporter
TOP MDC politician, Elias Mudzuri is living in fear of attacks by angry party supporters who accuse him of having a hand in the court nullification of Nelson Chamisa’s incumbency as party leader on Wednesday.
Mudzuri was appointed as party co-vice president by the late MDC founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai in July 2016, along with Chamisa but the High Court this week declared their appointments violated the party’s constitution and therefore illegal.
Chamisa’s supporters have accused party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and Mudzuri of having been behind the application by a junior party official that triggered the crisis that is now gnawing at the party.
Speaking through a spokesperson, Father Rungano Muchineripi, Mudzuri said his home had been besieged by a group of angry youths sometime this week, who shouted obscenities accusing him of secretly funding the court application by Elias Mashavira.
“A group of youths actually went to his home, created a scene by banging the gate as well as shouting obscenities, threatening Mudzuri while accusing him of selling out and sabotaging Chamisa,” Muchineripi said in an interview with newzimbabwe.com on Friday.
But party spokesperson Jacob Mafume dismissed this as hogwash.
“There is no one in the party who would even think of harming the old man. He is not even seen as a threat to anyone.
“We respect him for his service to the party and would not want to stress him now. Nobody thinks he has capacity anyway,” said Mafume.
It was not clear whether Mudzuri had made a police report. Muchineripi said Mudzuri suspects senior leaders close to Chamisa within the MDC (names withheld) were behind the youths.
“Morgan (Tsvangirai) left Mudzuri as the acting president. He (Mudzuri) wanted to contest Chamisa for the position of president in the planned congress.
“In Masvingo, the nominations had to be done around 10pm. There were issues in Masvingo because many party members wanted Mudzuri to lead the party but this was thwarted by Chamisa’s loyalists in the province,” the cleric said.
Muchineripi said Mudzuri accepted Justice Edith Mushore’s judgment that also declared the former Harare Mayor illegitimate.
“Mudzuri now wants things to be done in a peaceful way. He wants the party leaders to follow the constitution and go for an extra ordinary congress.
“He was clear right from the start. If you go to his Twitter messages, he stated that what Chamisa was doing was unconstitutional,” he said.
Justice Mushore ordered the MDC to hold an extra-ordinary congress within a month, based on the 2014 structures during which Thokozani Khupe was the party’s sole VP.
Chamisa and his supporters have indicated they are studying the verdict with a view to appealing.
In November last year, Mudzuri was booed off stage at a rally in Harare, by angry party youths after he attended a meeting of parliamentary leaders presided over by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House.
Chamisa and Mudzuri’s frosty relations date back to the MDC’s congress in 2011 when the former, who was party spokesperson at the time, challenged Mudzuri for the position of national organising secretary and won.
In the chaos that followed Tsvangirai’s death last year, Mudzuri and Chamisa clashed again as both claimed they had been left to take charge of the party.
However, Chamisa outfoxed his rivals who also included Mwonzora and Thokozani Khupe who was at the time the only elected deputy president of the party at the 2014 congress.