OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, Saturday took pot-shots at returning party rebels, vice president Welshman Ncube and deputy national chairperson Tendai Biti ahead of the party’s congress later this month.
Both Ncube and Biti are former secretary generals, who broke ranks with Tsvangirai in 2005 and 2014 respectively, before they were brought back into the party in the build up to the 2018 elections. While Chamisa seems to have accepted Ncube and Biti who have both been nominated for the position of vice president, insiders claim relations between these remain as frosty as ever in boardrooms.
“Biti and Chamisa in particular rarely see eye to eye. There problems date back to the 2014 break-up. Biti suggests he was sold out by Chamisa who had initially agreed with him to revolt against Tsvangirai.
“It’s a sticky situation because they need each other. As for Ncube he is a very unpopular person within the MDC because of the things he said about Tsvangirai after their break-up in 2005. Very few have forgiven him and it would be a miracle if he wins on his own at congress. He needs Chamisa and has had to grovel for acceptance,” newzimbabwe.com heard.
As if to confirm this, Chamisa took advantage of his address at Tsvangirai’s memorial Saturday, to remind the party’s faithful that he has been one of the only consistent founding leaders of the MDC.
“Tsvangirai took me like his son and I competed with Edwin to be regarded by him as first born. His children know this.
“One thing he constantly told me was that he saw me not as a leader but in the same manner he did his son Edwin. He argued he had one thing he expected of me and that was obedience,” said Chamisa.
And in a thinly veiled attack on Biti and Ncube, Chamisa added: “That is why you see I never wavered. I never went to the left or to the right. I never looked back as others did. I was always behind Tsvangirai to the very end.”
Ncube broke away in 2005 after disagreements over participation in senatorial elections, while Biti parted company with Tsvangirai following the humiliating electoral defeat to Zanu PF in the 2013 general elections.
The youthful Chamisa, reminded Biti and Ncube that they had been allowed back into the party at Tsvangirai’s benevolence adding their parties formed in the aftermath of boardroom squabbles failed to stand the test of time.
“This party was build on the power of workers. It is different from other parties because it was formed by the people and not individuals. It was not formed in a boardroom.
“Tsvangirai has a history of ideas. He did not hold grudges and was forgiving. You know it with Biti and Ncube. Before elections he brought them back so we could move together. Lest learn to forgive,” he said.
Chamisa’s reference to Biti and Ncube’s history was probably a timely reminder to the two to “behave” or he would kick them out even if they are to win at congress. It may also have been a clear attempt to remind his audience that he is now firmly in charge and has the people’s backing after getting 13 nominations from all provinces, in the process that will culminate with the first elective congress since Tsvangirai died last year.