Nelson Chamisa will be challenged at the next MDC-T Congress by current Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora for the presidency of the party. Mwonzora, who beat Nelson Chamisa at the last Congress for the Secretary-General post, is positioning himself astutely at the moment through the primary elections for the MDC-T and through background control of the MDC-T notorious Vanguard.

While Nelson Chamisa, his supporters and certain members of the MDC-T are busy keeping their eye on the elections against President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ZANU PF, the party is being methodically, quietly and ruthlessly taken over by Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora.

There really are now two factions within the Nelson Chamisa MDC-T party led by Nelson Chamisa.

One faction consists of Chamisa loyalists. The other is Mwonzora's faction, which is in the ascendancy at the moment. So much so that Mwonzora has effectively and astutely locked up the party primaries.

The notorious MDC-T Vanguard, outwardly loyal to Chamisa, is aligned with Mwonzora and is working closely with him to tighten the stranglehold they apparently now have within the MDC-T.

It has to be this way, because Mwonzora himself has decided that his turn at the helm will not come through a Chamisa-type coup or a spirited public confrontation in the mould of Thokozani Khupe.

This explains, for instance, why people like Chalton Hwende, seen as close to Chamisa and a member of the Chamisa faction, is having a hard time with the Vanguard in Kuwadzana, where he expected a walkover primary victory.

The idea is to ensure that all parliamentary candidates for the MDC-T are aligned with the Mwonzora grand strategy. And from the looks of things, this is exactly what is happening.

It is common knowledge now in the MDC-T that Mwonzora's faction will control the parliamentary caucus for the party after the elections because of his faction's triumph in the primaries.

Mwonzora himself is definitely going to challenge Nelson Chamisa for the presidency of the party at congress, after the elections. This information is so reliable that you can bet any amount of money you want with anybody that this will happen, and hold me responsible if it fails to take place! The Congress is set to be held next year, 2019.

The dynamics behind this latest cloak and dagger game within the MDC-T is an open secret within the party.

Mwonzora beat Nelson Chamisa to the post of Secretary General at the last Congress, even though it was widely accepted that Chamisa was Tsvangirai's choice for the post.

What conventional wisdom failed to understand was that Tsvangirai himself was deeply suspicious of Chamisa at the time because of the closeness between Chamisa and Tendai Biti, who had broken away from Tsvangirai and formed his own party. Tsvangirai worked the structures quietly to make sure Mwonzora beat Chamisa.

Of course, this dynamic will be dismissed in the excitement of elections, which is exactly what Mwonzora and his strategists are counting on.

But Mwonzora is absolutely confident that, when it comes to the grassroots structures in the MDC-T, he is more popular than Nelson Chamisa.

It does not hurt, of course, that Mwonzora is Secretary General of the party. It means that he controls the way the MDC-T is administered and structured. Nelson Chamisa has taken over at a bad time, when his attention is diverted by the focused need to build his profile and also win against Mnangagwa.

The prospect of a Chamisa win is considered so remote that the party structures themselves are not really campaigning for him to become president. All focus is on the parliamentary elections.

By default, the MP of an area becomes the natural torchbearer for that area. His allegiances will likely be followed by party members in that constituency.

With no Treasurer to speak of, for instance, Chalton Hwende is well-placed to occupy that post at next Congress. But not if he contests for a seat that he is guaranteed to lose to ZANU PF or another party.

This explains the moves to deny him the Kuwadzana seat.

When we started the year, MDC-T was Tsvangirai's party. Right now, it is considered Chamisa's party by outsiders and onlookers. But after the elections, those pulling the levers of real power in the MDC-T expect it to be Mwonzora's party.

Tendai Biti and Chalton Hwende, amongst other candidates seen to be aligning themselves with Chamisa, are almost certain to fall at the hands of the Mwonzora faction in the MDC-T, either during the elections or through the fielding of Independent candidates who the "real" MDC-T (not the Alliance) will then campaign for.

It's a bit difficult to understand where the confidence in the Mwonzora camp or faction is coming from at the moment. But it is unmistakable.

The next battle is going to be move by Mwonozora to ensure that all safe MDC-T seats are occupied by MDC-T candidates in his corner and not Alliance partner candidates.

You will see the truth of this new dynamic starting this coming week, if you are paying attention to our politics.


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