Throughout his campaign Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa never missed a chance to remind his supporters that “mudhara” Morgan Tsvangirai left him the mantle to take the party forward.
He never said when Tsvangirai told him this though the last leader to talk to Tsvangirai on his death bed was Elias Mudzuri who, according to Tsvangirai’s bother Collins, was told to unite the people behind the party.
Now at the congress held in Gweru at the weekend, Chamisa ditched all those who stood by Tsvangirai throughout his political career and surrounded himself with those who ditched the MDC founding president, leaving him totally broke on both occasions after they took the purse with them.
Gone is Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe who were party founding members. Khupe refused to recognise Chamisa’s leadership after Tsvangirai’s death and now leads the MDC-T.
Mudzuri did not even bother to attend the congress where he was booted out. He is currently leader of the opposition in the Senate. It remains to be seen whether he will continue as such.
Chamisa’s top lieutenants are now Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, both former secretary-generals of the party during Tsvangirai’s reign.
Ncube was the first to ditch Tsvangirai in 2006 after Tsvangirai refused to participate in Senate elections. Ncube left with Tsvangirai’s top lieutenants including his deputy Gibson Sibanda, treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube and David Coltart.
Biti dumped Tsvangirai in 2014 and according to one report went off with almost all the party assets.
Thabitha Khumalo returned her post as national chairperson, a disappointing compromise because she initially believed she should be vice-president to fill the post left by Thokozani Khupe.
The senior post was taken by Lynette Karenyi Kore.
Khumalo is deputised by Job Sikhala another former rebel who formed his own MDC-99 in 2010.
Also gone is Douglas Mwonzora who beat Chamisa in 2014 and worked with Tsvangirai from his trade union days. Mwonzora is also a senator.
Mwonzora was beaten by Chamisa fanatic Chalton Hwende who publicly humiliated Mudzuri when he went to State House to present himself together with other officials from Parliament.
Also gone is treasurer-general Theresa Makone who said she found only $53 in the party’s bank account when Biti and treasurer Roy Bennett left the party in 2014.
She was replaced by David Coltart who left Tsvangirai together with Ncube in 2006.
Coltart beat another Tsvangirai loyalist Tapiwa Mashakada who also worked with Tsvangirai from his trade union days.
The MDC hierarchy is now filled with lawyers- Chamisa, Ncube, Biti, Coltart and Sikhala.
With highly ambitious people like Biti, who seems to enjoy the goodwill of the West at the moment, the question is: how long will the fort hold?