From warrior to another embattled has-been — Mudzuri’s rise and fall
FROM a shining opposition political star, Engineer Elias Mudzuri — Harare’s former first resident — has seen his lustre fade into oblivion over the years.
The ex-mayor’s recent suspension from the Movement for Democratic Change led by Douglas Mwonzora, itself a shadow of its former glory, is a confirmation of how his political power has diminished.
Mudzuri is accused of trying to usurp power from the elected leadership that were officially put into office through a disputed congress in December 2022. He however believes he is being punished for speaking out against undemocratic practices.
In the letter of suspension, Mudzuri is accused with six others, and they are likely to face disciplinary action after hearings.
“The Movement for Democratic Change has with effect today the 16th of January 2023, suspended the following members from the party pending investigations and disciplinary action:-Hon Senator Elias Mudzuri, former VP; Mr Norest Marara — Secretary for Party Business and Projects; Mr. Gift Konjana — chairperson Mashonaland West Province; Mr John Nyika — chairperson Masvingo Province; Mr Den Moyo — Chairperson USA Province; Mr Edwin Dzambara — Secretary for Education; Mr Edwin Kakora — National Executive Member.
“These members are facing serious disciplinary charges and their suspensions are in terms of Clause 184.108.40.206 of the Party’s Constitution. The hearings will be conducted in terms of the MDC Constitution and their rights as accused persons will be respected,” read the letter.
Mudzuri and his co-accused responded to the letter of suspension, saying it is null and void and in breach of the party constitution.
They raised the issue of a flawed congress that excluded party grassroots.
“First and foremost, it is imperative that we put the subject matter into context. As per 220.127.116.11 of the MDC Constitution, The President and National Chairman of the party together with the rest of the Standing Committee office bearers shall be elected at Congress. Since no congress has been held according to the tenets of the party constitution, the offices stipulated in 18.104.22.168 are deemed to remain vacant. Any individual seeking to usurp powers vested in 22.214.171.124 is acting ultra-vies the party constitution and any actions, announcements or representations from such individuals are null and void,” read the letter.
Mudzuri is on record as saying he did not want to participate in the sham congress that was held in December 2022 in Harare.
“In the midst of current challenges facing MDC, members must introspect and craft a clear roadmap to take them to the full realisation of what they have been fighting for in the past 22 years. Our crisis is leadership’s failure to uphold the basic constitutional tenets of democracy,” he tweeted ahead of congress.
Contacted for comment, Mudzuri said the congress ruined the potential of the party to grow.
Mudzuri insists that he is a member of the party, but he is not proud of what the party has become.
“You cannot be in an organisation that has leaders that manipulate themsleves into power. I am a member of the party up to today, so I want to watch from the terraces,” he said.
He adds that the people will help him decide on the steps forward in rebuilding the party.
“The way to correct this is through the membership of the party coming together and saying is this what is constitutionally done, and are we proud of what we have done? We are talking about it and we will see what happens, what have we done. When you mess up, you have to clean up yourself. If you say you have not messed up, we will see by the way people view you. If it’s a smart thing people will join us, if it’s not, they will just forget about us.
“It is my grassroots that should speak out now. I have spoken out and our grassroots who see what we did, if they think it’s right, then I am the one who is lost, if they think I am right, then they will join hands and fix this mess,” he added.
He still dreams of rebuilding the party.
“The future of any political organisation is dependent on how it is being built and how it’s being managed. It is not about individuals. I want a future in an organisation that builds its future. I do not have a problem with the fact that I do not have a position in the party. I have already stated that I cannot be in a position where we have failed to allow grassroots to participate,” he said.
He added that the party members should introspect on the process and see if they followed procedure.
“I want the people in the organisation to applaud themselves if they did a good thing or not (with congress) and the future of the party. It is not for me to decry or to be seen as angry. I am supposed to say you guys what happened? I have been open with my colleagues that what we have done is unacceptable. To me it’s not acceptable,” he added.
“I can assure you that I didn’t see a process that would make me a leader,” said Mudzuri.
In his response, Mudzuri tried to potray a picture of a unitary party that was just dealing with internal ructions.
“Journalists are also trying to potray a picture of fiction within the party, as if there are fights within the party, but that is not the case.”
Having been a long-standing bigwig in the opposition party, his recent ouster from the remnants of what once was a vibrant political movement has sounded a death knell on his political career.
MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora has used the power of recall to deal with dissent within the party and also to disable the Citizens’ Coalition for Change led by Nelson Chamisa before it changed name.
Mudzuri fell out of favour with opposition fanatics after he sided with the less popular Mwonzara and abandoned the Chamisa camp.
He was regarded as a sellout.
Mwonzora and the MDC were humbled during the 26 March 2022 by-elections after being rejected by the masses countrywide.
The party’s cockpit was plunged into chaos, with Mudzuri and the then National chairperson, Morgen Komichi, contemplating challenging Mwonzora for the presidency along with Marara.
Mudzuri once served as Morgan Tsvangirai’s vice-president.