BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa will be unchallenged at the party’s congress to be held in Gweru next month after he emerged the only presidential candidate nominated by all the opposition movement’s 13 provinces.
Chamisa was nominated uncontested by 10 provinces in the country as well as the North American and United Kingdom branches before South Africa sealed his victory on Saturday.
This automatically means that he goes to the May 24-26 congress only for confirmation as the substantive leader after leading the party for a year on an interim basis since the death of founding president Morgan Tsvangirai last year in February.
During the initial provincial congresses, party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora had expressed his desire to challenge Chamisa, but no province nominated him for the top job and will have to face off with Charlton Hwende for his current post.
Accepting his victory in a post on his Twitter account, Chamisa thanked the MDC provinces for endorsing him and seeking prayers for grace and wisdom to lead the party.
“Change arrives and begins now. Thank you, Machinja (MDC supporters) for an emphatic 13/13 nomination, vote and endorsement as the second president of MDC, the people’s party after our icon the late Dr MT (Morgan Tsvangirai). Help me pray for the grace and wisdom to lead Zimbabwe to happiness, prosperity and freedom,” Chamisa tweeted.
Chamisa becomes the only leader in the coming congress set for Gweru to go unopposed since nominations cannot be done from the floor.
After his early victory, focus now shifts on who will be his three deputies from the pool of Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti, Morgen Komichi, Elias Mudzuri, Tracy Mutinhiri, Paulina Mpariwa, Lynnet Karenyi-Kore and Lilian Timveus.
On Saturday, the MDC national council resolved to have a woman as one of its vice-presidents and this will see the four female politicians battle it out although they can still grab all the three available posts.
The eight VP aspirants, just like other contestants vying for other senior posts, will have to prove why the 6 000 delegates set to attend the congress should vote for them through a public debate.
Currently, the party has three VPs –Ncube and Komichi – who were appointed by Chamisa and Mudzuri, who was appointed by Tsvangirai.