JOSTLING for positions in the MDC has heightened with many high-ranking officials vying for senior positions ahead of the congress coming in two months’ time.

Almost 10 names have been thrown into the ring for the vice-presidents’ positions and while others are reportedly lining themselves for the remaining top positions, among them secretary-general and the youth assembly.

Although the congress process is progressing according to timelines provided in the guiding template, violence has been reported in other areas as some party members try to block their rivals who might influence the selection of other top officials into key positions.

National organising secretary Amos Chibaya said the high number of people expressing interest in some positions was a sign of growing internal democracy and that calls for celebration.

“MDC is like a freedom train and everyone is free to join in, that is what we mean when we say our democracy if flourishing. In some instances, we have even up to 20 people expressing interest in one position and we encourage that as long as people qualify,” Chibaya said.

“The process is moving on well. We have completed the branches and the ward process. This Friday, we will start on the districts before the provincial at a later stage. So far the process has been violence free,” he said.

Insiders said the names popping up for the vice-presidency include Morgen Komichi, Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti, Murisi Zwizwai, Lynette Karenyi-Kore, Theresa Makone, Paurina Mupariwa, among others.

“A lot of people want these senior positions and even some who don’t qualify have their names being thrown into the ring. However, we hope the list might start to get smaller as congress approaches because some people who had promised backing for these leaders are falling by the wayside at the lower structures. As it stands, it’s dog-eat-dog affair,” an insider, who refused to be named said.

As the euphoria engulfs the structures, some dirty tricks have also been the order of the day.

Another tight contest is expected at the presidency where secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora will likely contest Nelson Chamisa as well as vice-president Elias Mudzuri who has reportedly set his eyes for the presidency.

Youth leader Happymore Chidziva will be ceding his position and is expected to battle it out with others, including Job Sikhala and Blessing Chebundo for the deputy national chairperson’s position.

Although Chidziva is likely to have safe passage, he refused to discuss the position yesterday, but urged unity and peace in the run-up to the MDC elective congress in May.

“In an election people differ and as the president has said, this process is going to drag emotions – bitter and sweet it’s going to be – but we must focus on the greater goal, which is to democratically elect our leaders.

“We know the party is going to emerge stronger, but for now we advise our members not to engage in violence. We must abide by the template and at the same time we must be clear on pursuing our national agenda and liberate the country,” Chidziva said.

The youth assembly will likely stage some more drama as many candidates are coming out to take over from Chidziva.

These include current secretary-general Lovemore Chinoputsa and Makomborero Haruziviishe, among others.

Chinoputsa said his experience will likely count on the position.

“Congress is a time to rejuvenate our party and it’s not time for unnecessary mudslinging and infighting. We have been in the trenches long enough to understand the task at hand and if given the nominations to stand and ultimately lead the youth assembly, we are ready to lead,” he said.

Haruziviishe said the majority of the party supporters being youths, they must, therefore, be entrusted with powerful positions.

“I want to elevate the youth assembly into an inclusive hub of collective youths’ interest articulation whose endgame is to mobilise two million new voters for MDC and president Nelson Chamisa. This will be done through deliberate social, economic and political mobilisation tactics that will see the youths taking on the military junta head-on,” he said.

Meanwhile, the youthful MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa appears headed for a crashing victory at the party’s 5th congress slated for the 24 to 26 of May.

Various interviews conducted by The Mirror with party activists in key positions show that there is a groundswell for Chamisa in party structures almost throughout the country.

There is also support for Mwonzora but for now there seems to be a rising chorus that Chamisa is the man who is up to the task.

Some political analysts said that Mwonzora had all along looked like the one set to win the presidency at the congress but Zanu PF’s blundering with the economy boosted Chamisa’s chances.

“Chamisa has been attacking and criticising Government at every turn and this has won him hearts with the generality of Zimbabweans who are suffering from the debilitating effects of a declining economy. Although more in the party structures could have gone with Mwonzora, Chamisa’s fortunes have brightened as there is a realisation that Chamisa is more popular with the general electorate than Mwonzora.

“Remember Mwonzora beat Chamisa to the position of secretary general five years ago and it is almost the same people who are voting again this time. The difference today is that the voting executive is guided by the mood of the people out there,” said an analyst who declined to be named.

Most of the executives contacted by The Mirror said Mwonzora and Elias Mudzuri were equally good presidential candidates for the party but the sentiment in the structures is that the best candidate is the one supported by the people out there.

— NewsDay/Mirror

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