Leadership profiles

MDC emerges stronger, better and sharper

"The team of courage and hope"

The regime better be warned. The MDC’s second national Congress resolved that this year, the party should engage in a sustained people’s programme to confront the dictatorship and bring salvation

to suffering Zimbabweans. The 15 000-strong delegates then elected a team of courage and hope, brimming with an exciting mixture of youthful zeal, confidence and experience. The nation is excited that this team will achieve the nation’s vision of a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning.

Here are some of the profiles of the new leaders elected at the historic second national people’s congress held on 17-19 March 2006.
Morgan Tsvangirai (President)
The re-elected MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is a self-made person, a solid administrator, competent thinker, charismatic leader, democratic team player and above all, a compassionate family man. He has an unshakable appreciation of the key challenges facing Zimbabwe as a country and Zimbabweans as a people.
President Tsvangirai is a product of important social movements in this country, which include the labour and constitutional reform movements. He is the former Secretary General of the powerful Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and is the founding chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly, a pressure group that advocating for a new constitution for Zimbabwe.
He is a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he attended the school’s Executive Leaders In Development Program, in June 2001.This programme concentrates on such themes as leadership, managing political and economic reforms, managing transition, economic development, financial management and globalisation. This is a programme for executive global leaders in key organizations, government departments, international organizations, academic institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations.
The eldest of nine children, Tsvangirai was born in Gutu, Masvingo and attended Munyira Primary School and then Silveira and Gokomere High schools.
At 20 he was working at Mutare Clothing where he had his first taste of trade unionism as a member of the local textile union. Two years later he joined the Trojan Nickel Mine in Bindura. He spent ten years at the mine, rising from plant operator to general foreman. President Tsvangirai became branch chairman of the Associated Mine Workers Union and was later elected into the executive of the National Mine Workers Union before becoming Secretary General of the ZCTU in 1988.
President Tsvangirai has also held several high-ranking positions in many regional labour movements. He has been a guest speaker at various faculties of various universities on the continent and beyond. He has also been a guest speaker and presenter at various conferences including the World Trade Forum, trade union related forums, and both NGO and government organized seminars. The man is an eloquent speaker, has a multitalented personality and displays an amazing amount of energy, which drives his hard work.
It was President Tsvangirai, as the then secretary-general, who led the ZCTU away from its alliance with the ruling Zanu PF. As the influence of the workers and that of the movement grew, his relationship with the Zanu PF government deteriorated. In 1989 he was imprisoned for six weeks on charges of being a South African spy. He has also been a victim of premeditated and government inspired harassment and violence. There have been three assassination attempts on his life, which include the 1997 attempt, where unknown assailants burst into his office and tried to throw him out of a tenth story window.
President Tsvangirai has been acquitted of two trumped-up charges of treason. The first was for an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe before the 2002 presidential elections, and the other over a remark allegedly made at rallies in Bulawayo and Mutare in May 2003 when he is alleged to have called for the unconstitutional removal of Mugabe.
Many people throughout the world feel that President Tsvangirai was robbed of victory in the Zimbabwean 2002 Presidential Elections, which many local and international observers have described as highly flawed.
President Tsvangirai, has been married to his wife Susan since 1978. They have 6 children. When not in the office or out meeting the people, President Tsvangirai likes to read and spend time with his family.
Since his election as MDC President in February 2000, he has remained steadfast in his belief that the people should complete the change for a better life for all. In his acceptance speech at the second people’s Congress, President Tsvangirai warned the regime of a long winter of resistance by the people of Zimbabwe. He has remained unshaken and is convinced that only confrontation, and not capitulation, is the hope for the people of Zimbabwe.
‘In the closure of democratic space where the road is full of skeletons and blood, we are determined to complete the change we set on to achieve a few years ago,” the MDC leader said.

TENDAI BITI (secretary-general)

The newly appointed MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti is well known across the country as a courageous political cadre, a brilliant lawyer, an eloquent and persuasive speaker and a vigilant fighter for human rights and democracy.

A week ago, suffering Zimbabweans placed their faith and hope and elected him the second secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change. He was born on 6 August 1966 and grew up in the Dzivaresekwa suburb of Harare.

Biti was educated at Goromonzi High School just outside Harare and later went to the University of Zimbabwe where he graduated from the law school. At University, he was a student leader and helped lead the famous demonstrations in 1988 and 1989 which ground to a halt the government’s intention on curtailing academic freedom. It was an exciting age of student activism against government’s unbridled corruption and its wicked intention to establish a one-party state. The demonstrations, led by Biti and others, formed the basis and nucleus of present day student activism.

In 2000, Biti helped found the MDC and was elected its MP for Harare East. He is currently serving his second term as MP for the area and has helped found important civic groups such as the NCA and the Zimbabwe lawyers for Human Rights.

The eloquent secretary-general was the party’s secretary for Economic Affairs and was one of the brains behind RESTART, the MDC’s economic blueprint that proposes practical solutions to the country’s multi-layered crisis

He is a brilliant lawyer and in 1995, at the age of 29, he made his name in the legal fraternity after he exposed massive rigging in the Zanu PF electoral management system. He successfully represented Margaret Dongo (independent) against Zanu PF’s Vivian Mwashita in the elections for Harare South constituency. The polls were nullified and Dongo won the rerun.

Biti has distinguished himself as a polished lawyer and since 2000, he has been an articulator in Parliament on issues of the law, corruption, human rights and justice.

Biti is a spirited team player who believes that every blood is precious, particularly considering the various components constituting the MDC. He celebrates diversity of opinions and pluralism of ideas. He is humbled by the support and trust bestowed upon him by members of the party in appointing him to such a high position.

He has faith in the team appointed by this Congress and he is raring to go.

“We are going to be different. There is no doubt about that. I know the capabilities of the people who have been elected and have no doubt that the team will deliver. I know the team understands what it is like to carry the hope of the nation on our shoulders,” he said.

“Our last hope is with this team. To Zimbabweans, I can only tell them the end of the end is about to begin.”

THOKOZANI KHUPE (Vice President)

The new-look team includes veteran trade unionist and prominent women’s rights activist Thokozani Khupe, who was elected vice President.

The 42-year old Khupe was born in Bulawayo. She has three children and has faith in the team elected at Congress. A member of the ZCTU general council and the women’s advisory council for many years, Khupe, the MP for Makokoba, is woman with immense zeal to achieve the best for Zimbabwe.

“I believe we will work together (with the new team). I thank the nation for investing their trust and confidence me and placing me on the stewardship of the party. This team will do great things. Together we will rally the people for a new Zimbabwe,” she said.
“My election means women are now moving away from the corner to the centre, from the periphery to the centre. And the centre is where the whole game is played.”

She says she is ready to fulfill the wishes of Congress in confronting the regime by using people pressure to help resolve the country’s crisis.

“I am ready. I have always been a fighter. Fighting this regime is my call,” she said.

Khupe holds a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies, a diploma in Information Technology from Turin College in Italy. She has several courses in industrial relations, teaching methodology and community development.

Khupe says she has a passion for helping the nation realize its vision, especially the women whose heroism remains unsung and unnoticed.

Since 2000, she has been deputy chief whip of the opposition, deputy chairperson of the Parliamentary Women’s caucus and is a member of the Budget and Finance committee as well as the Defence and Home Affairs committee

Khupe has attended several inter-parliamentary union conferences and is also a member of the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption.

She enjoys reading and attending political sessions.

LOVEMORE MOYO (Vice Chairman)

The affable and youthful MP for Matobo and provincial chairman for Matabeleland South, Lovemore Moyo, was elected to the post of deputy national chairman.

Moyo has rich experience in civic and political leadership, which started in the late 1970’s when he joined the liberation struggle at the age of 14. He is a former freedom fighter with ZAPU.

Born in Matobo on 29 January 1965, Moyo is married and has three children. He attained his early education in Matobo and later went Foundation College in Bulawayo for his Advanced Level education.

A businessman in his own right, Moyo has qualifications in Credit Management, insurance, Leadership and Management. He is in his last year for a degree in Development Studies with the University of South Africa. In 1993, he participated in a leadership training programme under the Young African Leaders Project in the United States.

Moyo brings to the top echelons of the party his vast experience in various civic and political groups. He has been a board secretary for the Matabeleland Development Foundation (1999). He is a founder member of the party and served in the first interim executive in the formative stages of the MDC.He served in the Policy and research arm of the party and helped develop the party’s policy programmes and the constitution.

He later became the Matabeleland South provincial secretary. He became the provincial chairman in January 2006 before he was elected the party’s first deputy chairman.

“ I am excited. I am very excited. It is encouraging to be part of the exciting team of dedicated cadres who will definitely take the struggle to a higher plane. We are a futuristic team with a strong fighting spirit. In my new position, I undertake to preside over people’s grievances impartially,” Moyo said with enthusiasm, adding he was ready to take up the resolution of Congress to confront the regime.

“I have always been ready to engage in democratic resistance. This team will lead the people. We cannot sit anymore. It is better to die fighting. We need to rise and tame the beast. Some of us are determined to put our lives at risk in order to save our nation.”

Moyo is a sports enthusiast. A keen volleyball player, he was vice president and treasurer-general of the Zimbabwe Volleyball Association. He was in the organizing team for the All-Africa games held in Zimbabwe.

MORGAN KOMICHI (deputy organizing secretary)

Komichi is trade unionist and co-founder of the Zimbabwe Electricity Workers Union, in where she was vice president in 1994.

He was born on 18 April 1964. Educated at Silveira mission, Komichi moved to Kwekwe for his secondary education. He is an instrument technician and is now chief technician with a big power company.

With his background as a trade unionist, he joined the MDCD in 1999 and was one of the founding organizers of the party in Matabeleland North, where he has been provincial chairman since 2000.

Komichi is an ardent party activist and married with four children. He is currently an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering with the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers. He also holds a qualification in Management.

Komichi has confidence that the new team will deliver a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning.

“I am proud of this team. We have much in common. We are all aggressive and results-oriented. Personally, I am not new in democratic resistance. We have planned and executed similar projects. The good thing is that all dictators will go in the end,” said Komichi.

“Most of these dictators have succumbed to people power through democratic resistance.”

Profiles for other leaders, namely Isaac Matongo (national chairman) Elias Mudzuri (organizing secretary), Roy Bennet (treasurer-general), Nelson Chamisa (Information and Publicity), Lucia Matibenga (women’s assembly chairperson), Thamsanqa Mahlangu (youth assembly chairperson) are yet to come.

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