MDC-T set to retain top brass

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The MDC-T top leadership looks set to retain their positions at the party’s congress at the end of this month in Bulawayo although all of them except party leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will face competition.

Party-secretary general Tendai Biti is expected to retain his post although he is likely to be challenged by Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, who reportedly enjoys the support of Mashonaland East and Midlands North provinces. Mukonoweshuro reportedly belongs to a rival camp led by organising secretary Elias Mudzuri.

Insiders said national chairperson Lovemore Moyo would clash with former trade unionist Lucia Matibenga for the national chair’s position while party vice-president Thokozani Khuphe would likely battle it with Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, also of the Mudzuri camp.

MDC-T national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa was almost certain to grab the national organising secretary post ahead of Mudzuri, who on Tuesday confirmed he would seek re-election.

A battle of the lawyers is looming for the position of party spokesperson eyed by Masvingo Central MP Tongai Matutu, Harare spokesperson Obert Gutu and Nyanga North MP and Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora.

Mwonzora has, however, suffered a setback after his home province, Manicaland, nominated Matutu for the post ahead of him.

Evelyn Masaiti is challenging Theresa Makone for the women’s assembly’s chair although some provinces appear to prefer Matibenga. The Mudzuri camp is said to be supporting Lynette Karenyi.

Two major factions are said to have emerged ahead of the congress, with Tsvangirai and Biti, both believed to be leading separate camps, uniting against the Mudzuri-led faction.

Insiders, however, revealed former Nkayi South MP Abednigo Bhebhe, who joined the Welshman Ncube-led MDC following the 2005 split of the united MDC, would likely bounce back as deputy organising secretary.

Bhebhe supported MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo for the Speaker’s post in 2008, and was accused of leading MDC MPs to turn against their party candidate, Paul Themba Nyathi.

The former MP was nominated by Tsvangirai as Water Resources Development and Management minister in 2009, but was later dropped after protests from the MDC.

As punishment, the Ncube-led MDC leadership also recalled him from being a legislator for supporting MDC-T. Mudzuri yesterday denied he was leading a faction insisting the allegation was being peddled by people who wanted to tarnish his image.

He said he wanted to continue as national organising secretary and not national chairman “although my detractors are spreading information to the contrary”.

“I am not leading a faction although I may have sympathisers. How can I, as organising secretary, lead a faction? My job is to build the party and that’s what I want to continue to do. I know there are people who are going around saying I’m leading a camp, I’m tired of those lies and the smear campaign.

“I’m being given people, but I love everyone and I want to continue to build the party with the leadership.”

Chamisa confirmed nominations were in progress and that by Friday all the provinces would have finished.