The rebranding of the MDC-Alliance in response to the MDC-T’s decision to use the same name (MDC-Alliance) in future polls, including the forthcoming by-elections, has triggered an in-house spat featuring that party’s leader, Nelson Chamisa and his co-deputy Tendai Biti.
According to a high profile insider, Chamisa prefers Alliance for Democratic Change (ADC) as the new name, while his belligerent deputy is pushing for the Movement for Democratic Change- Chinja/Guqula (MDC-Chinja/Guqula).
“Chamisa is using his allies to present his new party name and this is the reason why you saw Obey Shava, Pedzisayi Ruhanya, Rejoice Ngwenya and Philani Zamchiya presenting at our last National Standing Committee (NSC) workshop. All of them were in support of ADC. It was Chamisa’s ploy which, nevertheless, Biti and crew saw through,” said the source.
She said Biti had presidential ambitions and was alive to the fact that it would be tough to unseat Chamisa as leader of ADC than as MDC Chinja/Guqula leader.
“The Biti camp came to the workshop fully geared to deal with the name change once and for all. However, sensing the plot, Chamisa had to reduce the workshop duration from three days to one day so that the issue is not given room for discussion,” she said.
She added that Chamisa subdued debate on the new party name by referring it to the National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Council (NC) where he has substantial support.
“Chamisa told the NSC members at the workshop that the issue regarding the new party name would be referred to NEC and NC as proposals. He said the two structures could either endorse or reject the proposals,” she said.
The source said despite attempts to stifle debate, the issue was discussed with the old guard who were the majority at the workshop, supporting Biti’s proposal.
Biti, she added, came out of the workshop in high spirits. She said he could be heard nattering with his allies saying it was his first major step in his journey towards the presidency of that party and perhaps the nation. A close confidant of Biti confided in this publication that the Biti faction was anticipating a second Government of National Unity (GNU) where Biti would be minister of Finance and Economic Development, a move that has been viewed by analysts as glory-seeking.
Khumbulani Dube, a Gweru based political analyst said, “Biti knows the country’s bright economic outlook for 2022, a year before elections. Once he becomes Minister of Finance and Economic Development, he will claim credit as he did in 2009. He hopes to use the credit as his ticket to the presidency of that party and nation.”
The old guard that is supporting Biti accuses Chamisa of trying to wipe away Morgan Tsvangirai’s legacy and build the new party around his name.
Chamisa has the backing of the youths and those who joined the party later, who have no sentimental attachment to the original MDC and its founding leader, Tsvangirai. Fears are ballooning within the MDC-Alliance that the brewing divisions might see a major crack along the proposed names and the two protagonists.