OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who is all, but one province away from winning the party presidency uncontested, says he will not purge his challengers after congress, but will deploy them to influential positions, to strengthen the party.
Chamisa, speaking after grabbing his 12th nomination out of the 12 provincial congress held so far, said congress was not a game of winners and losers, but there was a need to consolidate the party and swim together with losers in building the movement.
“Our emphasis is unity, our emphasis is inclusive politics, but also dynamic renewal and regeneration of the organisation, democracy is not about winners and losers, it is a win-win platform so nobody will be left behind,” he said.
Chamisa’s statements are likely to give reprieve to Mwonzora and Mudzuri, who have won a single nomination each for the secretary-general and vice-president respectively, after they initially challenged for the party presidency, but got no nomination. Both Mudzuri and Mwonzora still have a chance to contest and win in their respective posts, courtesy of those single nominations although the door to challenge Chamisa has all but been effectively closed.
In what appeared to be an acceptance speech with just the MDC’s South Africa provincial congress still outstanding, Chamisa said the on-going congress process was magical.
“MDC is the home of democracy, the home of excellency and the home of alternative politics that is what is confirmed by our processes so far, but more fundamentally, this is a humbling honour to our efforts in leadership to try and ensure that the legacy and vision for a fully democratic Zimbabwe is realised,” he said.
The party will on Friday hold a crucial national executive meeting before convening an equally important national council meeting which will take stock of the nomination process.
Insiders said the MDC national council would also discuss, among other things, demands by female MDC members to be allotted a seat in the party’s presidium and the need for regional balance.
Chamisa confirmed the party’s forthcoming national council meeting, saying it would provide a platform for all nominated leaders to either accept or decline their nominations.
“We are not blind to the issue of marginalised regions or groups. Our hearts and minds are not impervious to that as we seek to continue being the only truly national party. However, elections are supposed to be purely on merit, we want the best cadres put forward,” he said.
Chamisa’s headache stems from the battle between his trusted lieutenants Welshmen Ncube, Tendai Biti and Morgen Komichi, who are toughing it out for the vice-presidency after they all sailed through in the nomination process.
The three, if they accept the nominations, will battle for their political lives to fill two vice-presidential posts with insiders pushing to appease gender activists who want the third slot to be allotted to a woman, in particular Lilian Timveous.
“Ncube is needed as a vice-president because of the Matabeleland vote, he holds sway in that region and MDC will be in a better position with him as a vice-president not by appointment, but he has only received two nominations so far, making it difficult for him to smell victory,” a party source said.
Komichi is most likely to clinch the vice-president’s position ahead of Biti who is believed to be considering the position of treasurer-general to pave way for Ncube.
Party chairperson Tabitha Khumalo also looks set to retain her position, while youth leader Happymore Chidziva has garnered more nominations for the post of deputy chairperson.
Chalton Hwende, who garnered nine out of 11 nominations for the secretary-general’s post is mostly likely to unseat Mwonzora whose sole nomination came from Matabeleland South province. However, another dark horse Daniel Molokela has emerged to challenge for the secretary-general’s post with two nominations so far.
Jacob Mafume is going to be facing little competition after clinching eight nominations for the spokesperson’s position, while former presidential spokesperson Luke Tambarinyoka is almost set to become his deputy.