Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, a source at the party's Harvest House who is also a member of the MDC youth assembly disclosed that Biti and Sikhala, who are eyeing MDC leader' Nelson Chamisa's position, were growing increasingly fed up with the latter's perceived docile stance when it comes to fighting President Emerson Mnangagwa and ZANU PF. They want a more militant and confrontational approach and accuse Chamisa of lacking spine as well as being less enthusiastic about it an.
"In view of this background, they organised last week's surprise protests. You may have noticed that the participants were largely the youth but both Chamisa and our youth assembly national leader, Obey Sithole were as surprised as ordinary people on Harare's streets as they were not aware of the plan," said the source.
He disclosed that his boss, who he refused to name, had told him that Biti and Sikhala intended to replace Chamisa as the MDC's 2023 presidential election candidates arguing that he had failed to lead the party to electoral victory in 2018 and that they were not happy with his handling of the post poll period.
"You know that both Biti and Sikhala are very ambitious. They wanted Chamisa to lead demonstrations to remove (President) Mnangagwa the North African style. Realising that he is not prepared and fears the backlash of such a route, they are now driving a parallel initiative.
"You'll remember how back in 2014, Biti secretly organised a meeting to pass a vote of no confidence on (the late MDC leader) Morgan Tsvangirai so that he could replace him. The script is much the same with plans being to put Sikhala on the forefront since he loves drama and action. Some of the messages on the placards which the protestors were carrying such as ‘ED must go' tally with Sikhala's mantra that (President) Mnangagwa must be forced out of power. The long term plan is for Biti to take over from Chamisa before 2023 with Sikhala becoming his deputy," the source said.
The source also highlighted that the plan enjoyed the support of one western embassy in Zimbabwe which he refused to identify. He indicated that the embassy believed that one of Zimbabwe's main problems was the economy and believed that Biti understood the country's economics better than Chamisa hence its support.
"Sikhala who organised the protests promised to give US$300 to each participant for taking part on the basis of financial support from the embassy but they were paid Z$300 each. Either the embassy later decided against its earlier pledge or Biti and Sikhala pocked the greenbacks," he said.
Asked what the impact of this would be on future protests, the source indicated that the participants were unhappy.
"They're obviously unhappy and feel used. Although the embassy is said to have promised US$200 per participant for future protests, Sikhala's anti-Mnangagwa initiatives were likely to flop," AnaWiwa wakairasa ipapo (Sikhala erred by not delivering on his promise)," he said.
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