FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti has as, expected, emerged as the sole candidate for the MDC-Renewal Team presidency ahead of the party’s inaugural congress set for August 21-23, NewsDay has learnt.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
However, an intriguing fight is in the making for the party’s national organiser position between brothers Paul and Solomon Madzore. According to sources, the two have been nominated for the same position with the younger of the siblings Solomon getting the majority of nominations from the provinces.
“The position of president is thus far unchallenged with Biti the only nominee. He is set to be deputised by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo who has also emerged unopposed. But it is the position of national organiser that could produce an interesting duel between the Madzores. They have both been nominated although Solomon seems to be the frontrunner,” said the insider.
Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume seemed to confirm that Biti had gotten his way.
“The nominations have not yet been concluded and as things stand some people might actually be nominating themselves. We understand though that in some positions there may not be challengers but things will become clear when the interim chairperson Nkomo presents the report of the national election directorate as to how the party’s membership has decided to deploy its leadership,” said Mafume.
He said the Renewal Team was also in the process of finalising a policy document as well as its electoral reform demands to be unveiled at the convention.
Last month Nkomo announced that the congress or convention would not be elective in a move critics said was meant to railroad certain individuals to the top.
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“We do not hold elections in our party, I have to clarify it from the outset, we do what is called cadre deployment, the nominations you are going to make today are not elections of gods, but we are deploying servants of the colleagues,” Nkomo was quoted as having said.
Biti, hitherto one of the leading lights in the MDC-T lead by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, joined senior party official and former Energy minister Elton Mangoma in calling for an elective congress in the aftermath of the 2013 poll defeat.
Tsvangirai rejected the demands resulting in a split in the opposition movement in April last year and the subsequent formation of the Renewal Team.
However, just over a year after their walk-out from the MDC-T, Mangoma and Biti were at each other’s throats over the leadership of the as yet to be substantively named party. Mangoma accused his counterpart of using underhand tactics to force him out of the party, which he fronted including taking a thorough beating from hooligans.
Godern Moyo, the former State Enterprises minister in the inclusive government, is set to take over Biti’s position as secretary-general unchallenged, while Julius Magarangoma, who served as MDC-T Manicaland provincial leader before the split, will lock horns with Benson Ntini, a cleric, for the position of treasurer-general.
Another former Cabinet minister and veteran trade unionist Lucia Matibenga has emerged unchallenged for the position of national chairperson while Last Maengahama and ex-MDC-T Matabeleland South chairperson Wachi Sibanda will slug it out to deputise her.
Former Youth deputy minister Tongai Matutu is earmarked for the deputy secretary-general’s position. While the political outfit has claims it has structures across the country, insiders indicated the Renewal Team was having trouble creating a proper structure in Mashonaland Central, a traditional Zanu PF stronghold.