BY BLESSED MHLANGA/OBEY MANAYITI
THE opposition MDC party goes into a crucial national council meeting this weekend to map out how the opposition party will handle its May 24 congress amid disagreements over the viability of maintaining three vice-presidents.
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who is already assured of the presidency after he was nominated by all party provinces without a challenger, now has a headache to accommodate his many allies vying for the VP posts, including Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and Morgen Komichi.
Currently, the party has three VPs, Ncube and Komichi, who were appointed by Chamisa, and Mudzuri, who was appointed by the late founding president Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mudzuri was appointed alongside Chamisa in 2016 after the two had failed to win positions in the executive at the 2014 congress.
A highly-placed official said top on the agenda of the national council meeting tomorrow would be whether the party should maintain three VPs, which critics say is not good for succession and public relations for the party.
“Some want the party to maintain one vice-president because, as the alternative government, it’s important to show the country what our Cabinet would look like. Further, having a lot of VPs is not good for our succession matrix. We learnt this when our late leader Morgan Tsvangirai died and there were these nasty fights,” the official said.
Already, eight people have been nominated for the position of VP, among them Ncube, Biti, Komichi, Lillian Timveos, Lynette Karenyi-Kore, Murisi Zwizwai, Paurina Mupariwa and Theresa Makone amid fears that the high interest in the post could cause chaos if the national council decides to go for one person.
MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said people should understand that the posts of the three VPs were purely administrative and do not mean that once the MDC forms government, it will retain such posts in government.
“We are going to have three vice-presidents. They are going to come from an electoral process. There have been nominations for that position. These are functions, these are not rewards and this is not the State presidency,” he said.
“These are functions at a senior level. We are following the example of social democratic parties, in Germany and other places, where the vice-president is an issue of functionality.”
The contentious issue regarding the VPs, particularly the call by Chamisa to reserve one slot for a woman, among others, spilled into the party’s standing committee held on Wednesday but the sharply divided leaders failed to reach a consensus.
Women and other MDC national standing committee members fiercely fought to reserve one slot for a woman, a position that is being resisted by other members.
According to sources, secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and women officials in the national standing committee were fighting in one corner.
In the other corner were the other members who were opposed to officially reserving the slot for a woman, preferring for them to fight it out with other contestants.
Those who are opposed to it claim it will be unfair for the party to change the template mid-way as official campaigning is about to resume.
Mafume confirmed the matter was brought up in the national standing committee.
“The party constitution aspires for a 50-50 representation in all organs and the organ of the constitution is the standing committee and a number of women were nominated in those posts and a number of women stand a chance to win,” he said.
However, a source said the party was currently seized with balancing out the nominated members and the general mood in the party with regards to having a bloated presidium.
“There is a push by some sections, among them Mwonzora and women standing committee members such as (Karenyi)-Kore and (Paurina) Mpariwa, who want one of the vice-presidents reserved for a woman and there was a discussion around that and there were a number of views around that,” the source said.
“Some were of the view that the template was moulded without that in mind and you cannot change rules mid-way. Secondly, there was a suggestion that already in the presidium, there is a woman, like the chairperson Tabitha Khumalo, who got the majority of the nominations as well.
“The other argument was that a number of women were nominated and there is a possibility that they can win, the voters can decide anyhow.”
Some of the nominated officials are reportedly banking on Chamisa to protect them to secure their nominated positions.
The matter is likely going to be brought before the national council.