ZIMBABWE – MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy, Ms Thokozani Khupe, are fighting over whether or not to expel national executive council member Mr Nelson Chamisa, it has emerged.
Insiders told The Sunday Mail that Ms Khupe wants Mr Chamisa chucked out for allegedly disparaging party leaders, but Mr Tsvangirai wants to keep him close to keep an eye on him.
Recently, Mr Tsvangirai told supporters at a rally that some of his lieutenants were engineering his ouster, and Mr Chamisa shot back saying his boss was “seeing shadows”.
The two fell out when the opposition leader – fretting over a possible challenge – blocked his former blue-eyed boy’s ascension to the secretary-general’s post in 2014.
Instead, he backed Mr Douglas Mwonzora, leaving Mr Chamisa in the cold. Our sources say Ms Khupe is displeased with her boss for failing to act on Mr Chamisa more decisively.
“The young man (Mr Chamisa) has become powerful and everyone now wants to be in his corner, including Tsvangirai himself. That’s why (Mr Tsvangirai) has been making efforts to meet him, but he is reluctant (to do so),” a source said.
“In fact, (Mr Tsvangirai) has realised how powerful Chamisa is within the rank and file of the party; that he is strategic. The fight is now between Khupe and the boss on how to deal with him.”
Another said: “This is what we are hearing, that the Chamisa issue has been discussed and the bosses are not really in agreement over what action to take.
“It appears, though, that those who do not want him in the party are those who feel he is a threat to them. But still, keeping him close also shows that someone thinks Chamisa is a threat if he is not within reach.”
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu tried to downplay the rifts. “(Mr Chamisa) is an important member of the party just like everyone else. In fact, every member of the party is important – from the branch level to the top,” he said.
It is said Mr Chamisa leads a powerful faction that wants Mr Tsvangirai out following successive electoral defeats since 2000.
Former Energy Minister in the inclusive Government Engineer Elias Mudzuri, Mkoba National Assembly representative Mr Amos Chibaya and deputy treasurer Mr Charlton Hwende figure in Mr Chamisa’s corner.
Insiders say the opposition leader has been desperately trying to meet and iron out his differences with Mr Chamisa, who is coy on the approaches.
The two were scheduled to meet last week, but Mr Chamisa – an advocate – excused himself citing a “busy court schedule”.
This has left Mr Tsvangirai with one strategy: meeting various party structures to consolidate his waning support within and outside MDC-T.