MDC leader Nelson Chamisa is likely to go to the party’s elective congress with a spring in his step after extending his lead in on-going provincial nominations.
The Daily News can report that the 41-year-old advocate has so far bagged five nominations from five provinces that have conducted their congresses, setting on course his bid to retain the MDC presidency at the party’s elective indaba set for May 24 to 26.
The going is, however, proving to be tough for MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, who has openly stated his ambition to challenge Chamisa for the top job. Mwonzora is yet to garner a single nomination to keep alive his dream. The only nomination he has received seeks to commit him to his current post — a position Charlton Hwende, a long-time ally of Chamisa, is also angling for.
All is, however, not yet lost for the former Nyanga North legislator since eight more provinces are still to make their nominations.
For one to be able to contest for any position at the MDC congress, they must be nominated by at least one out of the 19-year-old political outfit’s 13 provinces.
So far, the provinces of Matabeleland North and South, United States of America, Midlands and Mashonaland West have settled for Chamisa for the presidency through what insiders described as fair and foul means.
Chamisa stands accused of manipulating party structures in his favour and making it difficult for his challengers to come out and openly campaign ahead of the congress. His rivals are also not happy that voting is by way of raising hands.
MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume told the Daily News that congress preparations were progressing well.
“We have just finished Mashonaland West and the process went on very well,” he said.
Regarding those who are still to secure a single nomination, Mafume said: “But that does not mean the end for those who have not been nominated because one simply needs one nomination to contest so as it is it’s still game on.” It is indeed game on for the positions of the party vice presidency, national chairperson, secretary-general, treasurer, youth chairperson and women assembly chairwoman.
It was a mixed bag for the party’s vice presidents Morgen Komichi and Welshman Ncube who will be challenged at congress by Lillian Timveos, Paurina Mpariwa and Tendai Biti. For the post of the party’s chairperson Tabitha Khumalo appears to be the favourite to land the post since no one else has been nominated for the post while the party’s organising secretary, Amos Chibaya also appears safe in his position.
There is a deadly contest for the vice chairperson post where MDC prodigal son Job Sikhala has expressed interest but sadly got no nomination with provinces nominating Happymore Chidziva and Costa Machingauta. It is the first congress since the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai who succumbed to cancer of the colon in February last year.
Still to make their nominations are South Africa, the United Kingdom, Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Midlands and Mashonaland Central. Yesterday, Mashonaland East province was expected to finalise its nominations.
Meanwhile, the MDC has postponed its Bulawayo provincial congress as squabbling factions within the party continue to fight for supremacy ahead of the do-or-die congress. The provincial congress was initially slated to take place today (Saturday) but owing to the huge contestation for positions, the party failed to finish the ward elections on time.
This has left the party with an option to hold the congress between Sunday and Tuesday, this coming week. “We postponed elections for remaining wards from Tuesday and Wednesday to today (Friday) hence the postponement of the provincial one. After that remaining districts shall be done as well.
“With regards to provincial congress, national organising secretary Amos Chibaya shall advise on the date but I am sure it might be between Sunday and Tuesday,” MDC provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu told this publication.
“Those nominated by district to contest the provincial leadership shall then go to elections to elect top 10 of the province that is chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary, vice secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, organiser, deputy organiser, information and publicity and deputy information and publicity. After that, three members shall be nominated to represent Bulawayo province in the national executive,” Ndlovu said.
He added: “The province then also nominate the top leadership that is the president and three vice presidents, chairperson and deputy, treasurer and deputy among others. Having done all that the new province shall then co-opt additional members.” Ndlovu further noted that so far only two nominations for the provincial chairmanship post have been made with Nketa MP Phelela Masuku likely to battle it out with Makokoba MP James Sithole.
The postponement of the congress comes less than a week after Chamisa fumed at the factionalism in the party, a development he said was against the party interests.
With that in mind Chamisa further indicated that he was going to ensure that there was maximum security including hiring police officers to nip the bug of violence that gripped the party in the past few weeks.