ies of small meetings the groups have been holding in various places under the name of the MDC and purporting to form party committees.
At its meeting of May 29 2005, the MDC National Council outlined a road map to the February Congress. A notice was duly issued by Welshman Ncube on June 2 stating inter alia the following: Branch congresses were to be completed by the end of June; ward congresses done by end of July; Constitutional amendments to be with the Legal Committee by end of September; district congresses were to be through by the end of September; provinces were to be completed by end of December, together with suggestions for a Congress theme.
Thereafter, and in terms of the Constitution, a mandatory two-month notice for the main Congress was to be given in January by the same national council. Most of the work was already complete by the time of the leadership fall-out on October 12 2005. The structures on the ground, up to the district level were done, with new leadership and constitutional proposals ready.
There were some initial problems over the implementation of the process during the first two weeks after the Secretary General’s memorandum of June 2, prompting the National Chairman to clear the confusion.
The chairman sent out a circular, dated June 26 2005, explaining that it was the duty of the ward executives to conduct branch elections, with supervision from the district. Districts conducted the ward elections, with supervision from the provinces and all provincial elections were to be conducted by the National Chairman, assisted by the chairpersons of women and youth assemblies.
Esaph Mdlongwa, the national organising secretary issued another circular in September urging provinces to speed up the process when he realised that some structures seemed to be behind schedule with the implementation process. Nothing was ever issued reversing that trend, that process and all the three guidelines to this date. What this means is that any politician in the MDC who fails to recognise this process, which was in motion way before the fallout is not worth listening to. They shall be overtaken by events, through their own dishonesty.
After the 12th October fall-out over the Senate story, the districts and the provinces decided to proceed with the process in order to save the party from possible collapse.
The congresses began in Harare, then Chitungwiza, Mash East, Manicaland, Masvingo, Mash Central, Midlands South and Midlands North. It was not possible to complete the process in the four remaining provinces because of logistic and financial constraints. In addition, the December holidays interfered with the implementation of the process, and a desire to complete the congresses as per the suggested deadline of end of December.
The delegates coming to these congresses are the party. A register is being kept and is open for verification. They are the same people who shall come to the main Congress. Harare had 814, Mashonaland East, 647, Mashonaland Central, 532, Manicaland, 915, Masvingo, 740, Midlands South, 635 and Midlands North, 728, Chitungwiza, 726, and Mashonaland West, 640.
These congresses were conducted by the National Chairman, in terms of our Constitution. There is an allegation that only anti-Senate executives, so-called pro-Tsvangirai officials are getting into positions. Far from the truth: look at Manicaland, the Midlands, Mashonaland Central and Masvingo. The new leadership includes both previously pro-and anti- Senate politicians. The Senate issue is now a matter of history. The party is now focussing on evolving a robust and dynamic leadership to realise the emergency of a new Zimbabwe.
When the Ncube/Chimanikire/Sibanda group realised that the process was already in motion, they set out to hold their own so-called provincial congresses, with their own sympathisers. All they are doing is to capture disgruntled elements within the MDC and giving them various posts. Many of these elements were suspended, fired or rejected by the people, in their areas. The group included in their new ranks the likes of Silas Mangono in Masvingo, Shake Maya in Chitungwiza, Alois Mudzingwa in Mashonaland East, Canciwell Nziramasanga in Mashonaland West, Edwin Mushoriwa, Mbuya Trudy Stevenson and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga in Harare, Lyson Mlambo in the Midlands and Isaac Muzimba in Kwekwe. They call these groups the new provinces.
I was part of the chairman’s delegation in Shamva, conducting the provincial congress just before Christmas. One of the candidates in the contest for the post of provincial chairman was Henry Chimbiri. He received a single vote out of 10. He was very bitter and alleged that the provinces had been influenced to hate him. A week later, he crossed the floor and was selected, by the Sibanda/Chimanikire/Ncube group at their Mt Pleasant meeting as the new so-called chairman for Mashonaland Central!
The so -called new chairman for Chitungwiza, Goodrich Chimbaira, stood for a district executive post at Harvest House before a Congress that brought about a new Chiitungwiza province. He lost, and trekked back to the Ncube group where there were no elections. He was merely selected for the post. I spoke to him at length at Harvest House during the genuine Chiitungwiza congress. He was bitter and intimated that he would rather look for other options than respect the will of the people. He has done just that!
Edwin Mushoriwa was elected ward chairman for a ward in Dzivaresekwa in September during the authentic MDC congress process. He tried his luck in the Dzivaresekwa district in October, before October 12, 2005 and lost. He then decided to switch sides, and is now the so-called new provincial chairman under the parallel group. This information is freely available and can be verified independently by any serious political watcher on Zimbabwean affairs.
Mangono stood as an independent candidate in March 2005 and thus expelled himself from the party. Maya cannot stand for a party position because the Constitution stipulates that new members have to be in the party for at least two years before they can assume an executive post. Maya has not yet been in the party for more than two years.
At the Mt Pleasant Hall meeting in Harare there were about 280 people, all drawn from four provinces: Mash East, Mash West, Mash Central and Harare. The group calls that a provincial assembly and a provincial congress. Those from Harare who attended these meetings were given between $1,3 million and $1,7 million for transport and food. More money flowed out to those from the other provinces. Their organizers are being paid $8m each to set up parallel structures.
The National Chairman was not invited to preside over these meetings, as is required by the Constitution. In addition, there were no ward structure representatives, no districts and no branch chairpersons at the meeting. We are aware that the group wants to come up with a meeting which they shall call a national congress, based on these false structures. The people of Zimbabwe shall reject some diversionary tactics in their struggle and wait for a legitimate Congress of the MDC.
What has happened so far in the eight provinces is in line with the 2nd of June circular from the Secretary General, supported by a supplementary clarifier dated 26 June from the National chairman. The people taking part in the congress process are the real representatives from the original structures of the party, endorsed and accepted as legitimate, before the fallout over the Senate issue. The people, not the leadership are the real owners of the MDC and reserve the right to shape their organisation in their own eyes.
Sibanda and Company claim to have expelled Morgan Tsvangirai from the MDC. If this is real, the people of Zimbabwe deserve to be told who is acting as a leader of the MDC in Tsvangirai’s absence. Nothing has been said about that. Why are they scared to come out in the open? They also say, in statements carried by dubious Internet blogs, they have expelled Isaac Matongo, the national chairman. Who did they appoint to chair the party now? Who is now supposed to preside over the congress process in the absence of a chairman as required by the Constitution? Why are they silent on these matters, if they are strict adherents of the Constitution as they always claim? Further, the disciplinary committee as a committee of the party, in terms of the Constitution, merely recommends its decisions to the national council for ratification. Where these expulsions ratified by anyone? And where?
At a meeting they held at Mandel Training Centre on December 14 2005, 30 persons attended. Out of this number, only 19 were genuine members of the National Council (out of 72). Others, like Shacky Matake of Masvingo was expelled from the MDC in April for signing Mangono’s nomination papers to stand as an independent in the March election. He has since joined UPM. Frank Chamunorwa was also there. He has never been a member of the national council. Abednigo Bhebe, the Mat North vice provincial chairman, is not a member of the national council, yet he attended the meeting.
We shall complete the provincial congresses countrywide within the next few days. The National Council is meeting on Saturday to examine the state of the party and give notice to the people of Zimbabwe of our national Congress.
We are ready to provide the leadership and to take the struggle for democratic change to new heights.
Nelson Chamisa, MP
Spokesperson for the MDC.