Top MDC-T officials are jostling for the position of second running mate with names of several party “bigwigs” being bandied around to become Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s right-hand person alongside Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe in the impending elections.
Party insiders told NewsDay yesterday that the leadership took the running mate matter as an opportunity to address the succession issue on who would take over the party leadership after Tsvangirai.
While secretary-general Tendai Biti, chairperson Lovemore Moyo and Morgan Komichi (deputy chairman)’s names were being thrown around, other top officials wanted the party to follow hierarchy, which could ultimately benefit Moyo.
But insiders ruled Moyo out of the race arguing “ethnic balancing” could come into play as he, together with Khupe, hails from Matabeleland leaving Biti and Komichi as front runners.
Biti was, however, being challenged by the “kitchen Cabinet” which was reportedly rooting for Ian Makone, a close Tsvangirai confidante, to become his second running mate.
Makoni is currently Chief Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The fact that there is some speculation emerging on who will be Tsvangirai’s running mate is a sign that people are jostling for the position that will automatically make them leaders in government if the party wins the next elections,” the MDC-T insider said.
So hot is the matter of running mates that Tsvangirai is believed to have refused to individually appoint a candidate and has delegated the task to the party’s National Council.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Tsvangirai emphasised during last Friday meeting that the process of choosing running mates should be democratic and was not an individual decision.
“He prefers collective leadership in choosing the running mates. There will be a criteria used for the running mates, for instance, someone like Khupe was elected at a congress, the same criteria will be used for the second running mate.
“That’s clear criteria to be used for the second running mate. For example, there can be either a special congress or other democratic means to choose the running mate,” Mwonzora said.