Tsvangirai unopposed

HARARE – Current MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai’s authority over the party he founded six years ago remains unchallenged, despite months of bitter wrangling with the break-away pro-Senate group, as he enters this weekend’s Congress unopposed.

AN lang=EN-GB>In addition, party heavyweights, Isaac Matongo, Roy Bennett and Sekai Holland emerged unopposed for the posts of national chair, treasurer and vice-national chair respectively.

Makokoba legislator Thokozani Khupe and Gertrude Ntombeni are vying for the post of vice-president, while Harare East MP Tendai Biti will battle it out with Hatfield MP Tapiwa Mashakada and party elections director Ian Makone for the post of secretary-general.

Matobo MP Lovemore Moyo and Pauline Mpariwa, MP for Mufakose, will contest the deputy secretary-general’s post and former Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri will stand against Ntombeni for the post of national organising secretary.

Journalist and gender activist Grace Kwinje will battle it out with Nelson Chamisa for the information post, while Lucia Matibenga is expected to retain the position of women’s assembly chair. It is understood that the women hope to win at least half the top posts. Elections will take place on Sunday. (See programme on P3)

The congress, to be held at the city sports centre, starts on Friday with the accreditation of an expected 10,000 delegates from all over the country. Letters of invitation have also been sent out to members from the pro-Senate faction, including recently elected president, Arthur Mutambara.

Delegates have all been asked to fund their own participation at the congress, according to spokesman Nelson Chamisa. It is understood that some rural participants have been selling goats and cattle to raise funds to cover their transport costs. Executive committee member Eddie Cross reports “We have cut our budget to the bone, no T-shirts, no caps or bandanas.”

“We have received no funding for the congress,” explained Chamisa. “The portion due to us under the Political Parties Finance Act was handed over to the pro-Senate group by the minister of justice just in time for its congress two weeks ago.”

It is understood the Z$8 billion payout was given even before Zanu (PF) received its cheque for the current financial year. – Own correspondent/SW Radio Africa

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