BY OBEY MANAYITI
OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa will appoint some of the party’s standing committee members, among them the organising secretary and spokesperson as well as a number of deputies “as per the party’s constitution”, despite members nominating their preferred candidates at the just-ended provincial congresses.
Chamisa has already been nominated as party leader uncontested and will be duly confirmed MDC president at the party’s elective congress to be held in Gweru from May 24 to 26.
Although all positions were contested at the just-ended provincial congresses, party spokesperson Jacob Mafume revealed yesterday that Chamisa would use his discretion to appoint some officials into some key portfolios in line with the party’s constitution, as amended in 2014.
The positions that are now set to be appointed also include some of those where nominations were sought.
“Remember in 2014, the constitution was changed so that the president appoints from the position of secretary-general downwards. This is what the constitution says. We were taking nominations on the basis that the national council will condone that departure from the constitution,” Mafume, who was nominated for the information portfolio, said.
According to the party, the provisions for presidential nominations were put in place following the acrimonious fallout between former secretary-generals and the then president, Morgan Tsvangirai, leading to divisive splits.
Some of the positions Chamisa will nominate include national organising secretary and deputy, treasurer-general and deputy, deputy secretary-general as well as deputy information and publicity secretary, among others.
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The position of deputy secretary-general will be contested by Concillia Chinanzvavana, Settlement Chikwinya, Daniel Molokela and Caston Matewu.
David Coltart, Tapiwa Mashakada, Tendai Biti and Thabita Khumalo will battle for the treasurer position.
Biti has also been nominated for the vice-president post and will have to accept only one nomination.
National organising secretary Amos Chibaya was nominated by the bulk of the provinces to retain his position, while the United Kingdom nominated Job Sikhala as his replacement.
Mafume said the provision was supposed to affect even the secretary-general’s position and that of treasurer, had the national council not opted for elections.
But according to what Mafume said, Chamisa has no obligation to follow the list of names nominated by the provinces.
“The national council looked at the situation and said notwithstanding that the constitution provides for that, the leadership of the standing committee recommended that secretary-general and treasurer-general be elected as well, even though the constitution says otherwise,” he said.
“We are actually moving from a situation where more were appointed to allow for more to be elected. Skills-based positions will be appointed like the organising and information.”
Mafume added that even though there are nominations for the positions that will be appointed, Chamisa would not be bound by the nominations in his pickings.
“The leadership asked for nominations so that he (Chamisa) will be guided, at least, by what the people want, not necessarily taking exactly that, but to get an indication of the feeling of the executive. Where there is a mismatch in talent, he will then address accordingly,” he said.
Several party heavyweights are expected to fall by the wayside at next month’s congress, in particular in the crowded vice-presidency.
Mafume said they were also taking a cue from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress and opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, which only elect the top six and the rest are based on deployment.
Zanu PF’s whole politburo is appointed by the party president. Observers used to, however, describe the MDC model, where all had to go through an election, as the best democratic model.