MDC-T youths shake party bigwigs

The MDC led by Nelson Chamisa is headed for a fresh hurdle amid reports that sitting Members of Parliament may lose their seats to youths aligned to the party’s militant wing going by the moniker “Vanguard”

Moses Matenga

Several party MPs have reportedly started panicking and advocating for Chamisa to stop the perceived taking over of the party by the youths who they said had nothing to offer politically and had no capacity to face and defeat Zanu PF in the next elections.

Among the MPs whose constituencies are targeted by the youth wing include outspoken legislator James Maridadi whose post is targeted by one James Chidhakwa, a youth assembly security secretary.

Chidhakwa is part of the “vanguard” and was in 2014 arrested for assaulting then MDC-T deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma at the party headquarters in Harare.

In 2013, Chidhakwa was arrested over the bombing of the Zanu PF Machipisa offices in Highfield Harare.

He was however acquitted.

Shakespeare Mukoyi, the de facto commander of the vanguard, is also targeting Kuwadzana constituency and likely to face off against Chamisa’s ally Charlton Hwende.

Mukoyi courted controversy after he bulldozed his way into a meeting in Bulawayo that was being addressed by MDC-T faction leader Thokozani Khupe and threatened her for wanting to destroy the party.

He was also fingered in the violence that took place at the burial of Tsvangirai in Buhera in February where the youths attempted to burn a hut where Khupe and party secretary general had sought refuge fearing a violent attack by the youths.

Hwende initially had interests in Chegutu West where he lost to Zanu PF’s Dexter Nduna in the 2013 harmonised elections.

Glen View North MP Fani Munengami is also in trouble with Rhino Mashaya, a youth member of the party who  is reportedly eyeing his post and has the backing of his friends in the youth assembly while Harare West’s Jessie Majome faces a tough challenge from Joanna Mamombe who has the backing of the youth assembly and the miltant wing.

Mamombe is  regarded as a gender and human rights activist and a strong activist in the youth assembly of the MDC-T.

Denford Ngadziore, another youth official is earmarked for a council seat while the youth league’s Clifford Hlatshwayo, better known as “General” in the political circles is eyeing a seat in Chipinge where he hails from.

Ngadziore, Mashaya, Mukoyi, Chidhakwa and others were part of the MDC-T youths arrested and later acquitted on charges of attacking Mangoma in 2013.

Paul Gorekore, who was also charged for the attack on Mangoma was in  2010 arrested for allegedly participating in the murder of a police officer in Glenview, is also eyeing the Mbare seat.

In Warren Park, Elias Mudzuri, the party vice president is facing a challenge from Elphas Gandi who has vowed to work hard to get the ticket to represent the party against Zanu PF’s Gilbert Muponda.

Chidziva said it was time for the 20% seats reserved for the youths to be given to them.

“We are happy and content with our 20% and it must be left to us,” he said.