Nelson Chamisa retains leadership of Zimbabwe's opposition MDC Alliance

27 May 2019 - 13:49 By James Thompson
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MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The biggest casualty at the MDC Alliance’s elective congress in Gweru, Zimbabwe, at the weekend is outgoing secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora.

Mwonzora was initially earmarked to challenge for the party’s leadership at the congress but failed to get nominations, leaving party leader Nelson Chamisa uncontested.

As such, he reverted to defend his position against a Chamisa ally, Charlton Hwende, and Fortune Daniel Molokele. Hwende emerged the winner with a resounding 2,099 votes to Mwonzora’s 721, while Molokele was third with 577.

The vice-presidency was a predictable affair, with Tendai Biti and Prof Welshman Ncube joined by Lynette Kore as the third pick.

David Coltart is the new treasurer-general and the chairman is Thabitha Khumalo, her deputy being Job Sikhala.

Morgan Tsvangirai's daughter, Vimbai, was elected women's assembly secretary-general in her absence.

Meanwhile, guest of honour Ugandan musician and leader of the People Power Movement political party, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known by his stage name, Bobi Wine, performed a version of his Uganda … sleeping mama land at the congress on Sunday.

He substituted "Uganda" for "Zimbabwe" and bellowed, "… Chamisa we are the future, we are the change we badly need. We are the leaders of the future, and the future is today," as the MDC Alliance's delegation at the high table stood up to join the firebrand Ugandan MP.

Chamisa joined the performance, chanting, "Put your hands up if you love Chamisa, and put your hands up if you love the MDC".

In his address, Bobi Wine said Zimbabwean and Ugandan opposition politicians are fighting the same cause against tyranny that has led to heartbreak.

"The story of many African countries has been a story of unfulfilled hopes and broken dreams... you are all familiar with our history. Our people have dreamt of a new day, only to go back into the darkest of the night. We gather here in Zimbabwe to witness the sad story of unfulfilled hopes," he said.

Speaking at the congress, Chamisa said the party would push for early elections to solve the economic situation because, "five years is too long".

In response, home affairs minister Cain Mathema said the government would not  hesitate to put down any uprising.

"Our law-enforcement agencies are under full orders to exercise their full, lawful authority and might to guarantee peace and calmness for and at all times. Such reckless threats made against any constitutional order in any part of the world require and invite a vigorous response," he said.

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