MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has declared null and void any suspensions and expulsions made ahead of the party’s May elective congress.
This means the structures put in place at the 2014 congress, at which he soundly beat party leader Nelson Chamisa for the post of secretary-general and are seen as loyal to him, will be the ones to choose the new leadership of the party.
The opposition party hopes that the election of a new leadership would calm the discord which has held sway since the death of founding president Morgan Tsvangirai in February last year, which led to the rise of
Mwonzora, who is expected to challenge Chamisa for the position of party president, wrote to all provincial, district and ward chairpersons amid allegations that there were senior officials tampering with the structures to impose their preferred people who will vote at the congress.
“Please, be advised that the national standing committee has directed that after the setting of main congress dates by the national council, no expulsion or suspension of members shall be valid without the specific approval of the standing committee,” the letter, dated March 21, reads.
He also clarified the party’ position on members who stood as independent candidates, that they are not eligible to contest, while those that supported them can stand. In several constituencies, the party lost to Zanu PF after fielding multiple candidates.
“Please, further note that the only people disqualified from contesting congress positions are, (a) those who stood as independents, (b) those who stood as candidates for other political parties.
“Specifically, it was ruled that those who allegedly supported independent candidates or other candidates are not covered by this disqualification,” the letter, which was copied to Chamisa, national chairperson Tabitha Khumalo and organising secretary Amos Chibaya, added.
Canvassing for support has reached fever pitch in the MDC, with the majority openly endorsing Chamisa, although there is fear of another surprise victory for Mwonzora, who will enter the race as an underdog.
Chibaya said preparations for the congress were on course.
“The branch congresses have now been completed and the ward congresses in the 1 958 wards across the country taking place this weekend. By Sunday, 24 March 2019, there will be newly-elected ward executives across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“District congresses are slated for March 29 to 31, while the provincial congresses will take place from April 7 to 16, 2019, starting with Matabeleland South province.
“The process so far has gone on peacefully and without incident. Notwithstanding misleading Press reports of chaos, our congress is living true to the democratic culture and character as encapsulated in chapter 4 of the MDC constitution.”
Chibaya said the May 24 to 26 congress would prioritise “propositions and not positions”.