Power struggles between MDC-M leader Arthur Mutambara and secretary-general Welshman Ncube returned to haunt the party on Sunday during the Chitungwiza provincial council’s nomination of candidates for the party’s congress next month.
Although Mutambara announced on Friday he would not stand for the party presidency or any other post at the congress, a move he said was meant to unify the fragile party, his backers walked out of the meeting accusing the Ncube faction of bussing in some people who were not supposed to be part of the electoral college.
Despite the walkout, nominations went ahead with Ncube, who has also been endorsed by Harare and Bulawayo provinces, being nominated for the presidency.
Party insiders said Ncube was almost assured of the top post with his ally, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, almost certain to secure the powerful secretary-general’s position and former Zengeza MP Goodrich Chimbaira the national chairmanship.
Edwin Mushoriwa, the MDC-M spokesperson was nominated for the vice presidency, securing his second nomination after getting the nod from Harare province on Thursday.
Mushoriwa was however not nominated by Bulawayo province which instead nominated Frank Chamunorwa, with whom he is likely to battle for the second most powerful position at the congress.
Chitungwiza, like Bulawayo and Harare nominated Mushonga as secretary general, Chimbaira as national chairman, Moses Mzila Ndlovu as deputy secretary general and Paul Temba Nyathi as treasurer general.
Theresa Marimazhira –Muchovo, was nominated for the deputy treasurer’ general position, her second nomination after also securing the Harare nomination. Miriam Mushayi was nominated for the same post by Bulawayo.
The Chitungwiza nominations were preceded by heated debate between the rival factions prompting provincial secretary Charles Manyoza and organising secretary, Adam Pashama, among those who walked out of the meeting.
They protested against the participation of members of the Women’s Assembly who were put into office during the restructuring of the party earlier this year, arguing the process was illegal.
“Ncube restructured the party to put people who were loyal to him but we challenged the manner the restructuring exercise was done. The matter was then handed over to David Coltart, our secretary for legal affairs, so that he could determine whether the exercise was done legally. Coltart has not yet given us a report on the matter, so we felt that the new executive should have not participated,” said a member of the party who chose to remain anonymous.
“There is a very strong likelihood that Coltart may say the restructuring was unconstitutional hence our belief that they should not have participated. Some districts also had parallel structures and we felt the process should not go ahead with the situation like that.”
The party’s secretary for information in the province Wonder Chinamhora, confirmed the walkout and the nomination results.
“The meeting went very well, it was peaceful. Of course at first there were some people who were bitter about the women’s wing, but that matter was resolved because it was referred to David Coltart,” he said.
Asked about the provincial secretary general’s walk out, Chinamhora said Manyoza was disgruntled about the women’s assembly issue but said the meeting went ahead because it had been called to nominate leaders and not to discuss women’s issue.