Arthur Mutambara’s shadow continues to haunt MDC-M ahead of this weekend’s congress with his supporters insisting the robotics professor was unfairly treated and should remain within the party leadership.
Mutambara, who appears to have been outwitted in the battle for the party presidency by his secretary-general Welshman Ncube ahead of the party’s elective congress, has the sympathy of some members who believe he is being unfairly treated.
Although Mashonaland Central Province nominated Ncube for the presidency on Monday, they brewed a shocker when they nominated Mutambara for the secretary-general’s position. Priscilla Misihairabwi- Mushonga, a very close ally of Ncube, is however very strongly tipped for the position and has secured nominations from nine of the 11 provinces.
Nominations in Masvingo Province, which is said to be behind Mutambara, failed to go ahead over the weekend after some members of the provincial executive refused to participate citing the violation of the party’s constitution ahead of the congress.
The remaining members could not constitute a quorum resulting in nominations being shelved. Masvingo was also threatening to boycott the congress unless their grievances were addressed.
Nominations in Chitungwiza and Manicaland provinces were also chaotic with some members walking out accusing Ncube of embarking on a restructuring exercise which placed his supporters in key positions ahead of the congress.
Nominations however went ahead with Ncube getting the nod for the presidency.
MDC-M spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa confirmed nominations did not go ahead in Masvingo after party members failed to constitute a quorum.
He however said the major reason was lack of information to the electoral college, although he acknowledged that there were some disgruntlements.
“Masvingo delegates will come for the congress, of course some people were misinformed about the time of the meeting, but the province will sit on the 7th (Friday) for the nominations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mashonaland Central added interesting dimensions to the battle for positions at the congress after nominating Nomalanga Khumalo for the vice presidency.
She becomes the fourth person in the running for the position after Mushoriwa, who has the backing of six provinces, Frank Chamunorwa, who was nominated by three provinces and Trudy Stevenson who was nominated by Matabeleland South.
The province also chose David Coltart as its preferred candidate for the treasurer’s position, his second nomination after also securing the support of Matabeleland South. Coltart may face Paul Themba Nyathi who received nine nominations.
There is however growing belief that Coltart was better connected than Nyathi and could secure more funding for the party.
Coltart was one of the few party officials who were not involved in the party’s in-fighting ahead of the congress although Nyathi is a close ally of Ncube.
Mashonaland Central also nominated Qhubani Moyo for the deputy secretary-general’s position, his second after Midlands South.
He will square up with Moses Mzila Ndlovu, who was nominated by eight provinces. The other nomination went to Mushoriwa but he is likely to contest for the vice presidency.
Mushoriwa said his party had managed to transcend petty tribal, racial, religious, or ethnic divisions ahead of the congress.
The congress will be held under the theme “Celebrating our diversity”. He said this was prompted by the fact that they were a party representing a wide spectrum of Zimbabweans from different backgrounds and environments.
“As a party we celebrate that kind of diversity and say that in as much as we may differ we are one people. We are different from other political parties because we are the only political party that looks at the capacity and capability of a person, unlike other parties that look at tribal and racial connotations of a leader,” Mushoriwa said.
He said this was clear because at the moment, the MDC-M was the only political party in government that had assigned a white man to a ministerial post.
“We are the only party in government at the moment that has managed to appoint a white man as minister.
Coltart is the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture and another white woman, Trudy Stevenson was appointed ambassador to Senegal on our party ticket,” he said.
Mushoriwa said MDC-M was an idea-based political party which had managed to maintain consistency in its policies and ideologies, compared to other political parties which thrived on personalities.