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MDC-T Says All Positions up for Grabs in Party Congress

FILE: Zimbabwe opposition party Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai addresses a news conference in Harare Sept. 18, 2013.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai’s National Council on Friday resolved that all office bearers of the party should be elected at congress as opposed to proposals by some in the opposition party who want their leader to be empowered to handpick officials of his choice to occupy leadership positions.

Addressing a news conference following the meeting, the opposition party’s spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, said the National Council rejected proposals by some in the party for Mr. Tsvangirai to appoint people to senior positions in the party without being elected.

Mwonzora said all office bearers would be elected at a three-day congress set to be held in Harare from the 29th of October.

Some critics were opposing the idea of introducing a constitutional amendment that would allow Tsvangirai to cherry-pick officials saying this would be against the democratic principles that they say their party was founded on in 1999.

Mwonzora also announced that his party’s supreme decision-making body between congresses has resolved to water down the powers of the secretary general. Previous general secretaries of the party, Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, both used their constitutional powers to hold meetings that allegedly eventually led to the fragmentation of the party.

He noted that the National Council also rejected a proposal for the party to have two vice presidents saying this did not add any value to the labor-backed opposition party.

Meanwhile, provincial congresses of the opposition party are set to begin Saturday starting with Harare and Chitungwiza. The provincial congresses, according to Mwonzora, will nominate people to positions that they will contest for at the October congress.

In the event that an official is nominated to contest for more than one position, the individual concerned will have the right to choose the position that he or she wants to contest for.

The MDCT’s congress, that was due in 2016, was brought forward to next month after Biti and others announced Mr. Tsvangirai was no longer their leader. Biti claims his MDC Renewal Team is the authentic MDC and they have been claims and counterclaims as to who is in control of the party’s structures.