MDC's Chamisa, Biti fighting for party leadership - report

A power struggle is reportedly brewing within Zimbabwe's Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance - between party leader Nelson Chamisa and one of its principals, Tendai Biti - as a contest for mayoral positions continue.

According to the state-owned Herald, Biti is looking to grab the opposition leadership and the MDC Alliance in parliament, after winning the Harare East parliamentary seat.

He is possibly being backed by the US, while Chamisa is trying to win over the United Kingdom.

Chamisa's backed mayoral candidates in Harare, Chitungwiza and Gweru have all reportedly won against candidates backed by Biti.

"Remember Chamisa is not in parliament and Biti wants to exploit that absence to advance his ambitions as the natural leader of the opposition," an unnamed MDC Alliance source was quoted as saying.

The source said Chamisa would come out on top because many candidates were loyal to him.

"We have a few Zanu-PF people at Harvest House who will be lying to you. The MDC constitution is very clear on roles and responsibilities. Such things cannot happen under the current leadership," Chamisa's spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda told The Herald.

According to Daily News, Biti is expected to get a senior position at the MDC's elective congress next year, moving across from the People's Democratic Party which he was leading within the MDC Alliance. 

All six of the smaller parties within the alliance were reportedly expected to be integrated into the main MDC party, where Chamisa would be looking to surround himself with leaders of similar vision, such as Biti, to consolidate his own position as leader.

The privately-owned News Day reported earlier this week that Biti believed that Chamisa was important in stabilising Zimbabwe's economy.

"I hope wisdom can prevail. This country needs a dialogue, and Emmerson (Zimbabwe's President) has to talk to Chamisa because Nelson holds the keys and that is fact," Biti was quoted as saying.

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