FACTIONALISM and blame games have hit the MDC-T ahead of the elective congress that has been kept a closely guarded secret by party leader Douglas Mwonzora and his loyalists who are now plotting the expulsion of those perceived to be pursuing an agenda to challenge him.
The party is yet to announce its date for the elective congress, a move that has unsettled senior officials who now claim Mwonzora was deliberate in his delay to consolidate his power that is now under threat following successive by-election losses.
Factions have hit the party hard as names of candidates eyeing the leadership post continue to grow and now include treasurer-general Tapiwa Mashakada, aspiring Harare Central member of Parliament Norest Marara, national chairperson Morgen Komichi and vice-president Elias Mudzuri.
Congress has been provisionally set for July 23 to 24 subject to change.
Within the party, there has emerged a group under the moniker of “the Guptas”, which was initially accused of manoeuvring to abuse money to capture Mwonzora but is now said to be fighting for his ouster.
“Those who are ill-advising Mwonzora tell him of a plot by a group of people using money to dislodge him. They accuse them of meeting privately at a local hotel and other places to strategise on his ouster,” an insider said.
Those in the Guptas camp purportedly include the late former party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s son Vincent, Marara and other party officials who are said to be burning the midnight oil to challenge Mwonzora.
They are said to have worked with Epworth parliamentary candidate Zivai Mhetu who is among those who were dismayed by Mwonzora’s apparent lack of popularity within the party and dismal failure in the 26 March by-elections.
Mwonzora loyalists now accuse the team of working with Mhetu to alienate the former secretary-general and call for his ouster to rejuvenate the party.
Mwonzora loyalists argue that those fighting Mwonzora were the ones agitating for congress in what they denounce as a desperate bid to oust the party leader.
“They are known and some are even in the party’s standing committee who pretend to be working with him but they are plotting against him. Their time is up,” a Mwonzora loyalist warned.
They also accused some within the party of working for Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa.
Knives are out for Mashakada, who is accused of restricting funding, making it difficult to steer party campaigns.
The accused politicians told The NewsHawks in several off-the-record briefings that Mwonzora was determined to purge key allies who were asking “the right questions” following the embarrassing 26 March electoral loss.
There is reportedly no running water at Morgan Tsvangirai House (formerly Harvest House), the party headquarters, while the Mwonzora administration is failing to pay workers.
Those plotting Mwonzora’s ouster are said to be determined to block a probe on finances while those fighting in his corner are declaring war on his perceived opponents.
“Those who stay in glass houses must not throw stones,” an anti-Mwonzora official warned.
Insiders said Mwonzora is keeping the date of the elective congress a closely guarded secret.
“He hasn’t announced it yet. He wants to buy time so he receives a government grant.”
The government grant, funded by taxpayers, is due in September.