• Biti camp in disarray.
Movement for Democratic Change information and publicity secretary Douglas Mwonzora has emerged as the front-runner to succeed Tendai Biti as secretary-general of the party, NOW DAILY can reveal.
Party sources said Mwonzora’s loyalty to the elected party leadership, including Tsvangirai, untainted record and unwavering opposition to Zanu PF brutality had endeared him with fellow members and put him in good stead to take over the reins from the beleaguered Biti.
Biti enraged party members by failing to show up at Tsvangirai’s explosive Bulawayo rally on Saturday, where he was denounced. Party members have previously questioned his decision to represent Zanu PF member and former governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, who is facing corruption and grand theft allegations. He also challenged a decision of his party’s national council to suspend rebel deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma. Biti further addressed the Zanu PF think tank, SAPES Trust fronted by Ibbo Mandaza and disclosed internal party issues without warning his colleagues, critics say. Zanu PF has jumped onto Biti’s utterances with venom, using that to discredit the MDC.
Political commentator and journalist Itai Dzamara said the Biti/Mangoma camp had themselves to blame for their troubles.
“Probably the worst and most stupid political strategy has been Elton Mangoma’s hullaballoo of writing provocative and overzealous letters for which a media and publicity campaign is mounted with reckless abandon,” Dzamara said. “Mangoma has made a fool of himself, no less than Tendai Biti, who is now widely being regarded as the godfather behind the farcical plot. Biti has dramatically reduced his high rating in the public domain after finally emerging in the open to confirm that he is the chief clown of the circus.”
Added Dzamara: “Biti has foolishly convinced many Zimbabweans that he is, as alleged in some MDC circles, hired to destroy the MDC or to unconstitutionally remove Tsvangirai on behalf of some external forces.”
The commentator said the “foolish antics” of Mangoma and Biti were likely driven by external forces.
Sources said party organizer Nelson Chamisa, who has been touted as a contender by some media, did not command enough support among his peers and the grassroots. Chamisa has been criticized for his alleged failure to manage party structures during the 2013 primary elections, leading to chaos, especially in Manicaland, an MDC stronghold.
Tsvangirai is expected to be re-elected party president, with his deputy, Thokozani Khupe and national chairman Lovemore Moyo expected to retain their positions.
Shaodow education minister Concilia Mananzvavana leads the race to succeed Theresa Makone as women’s assembly chairperson. Tracey Mutinhiri, the ex-wife of CIO thug Ambrose Mutinhiri, who recently joined MDC has mysteriously been thrown into the race by unknown forces.
The posts of treasurer-general and deputy, currently held by rebels Roy Bennett and Mangoma are up for grabs, it emerged. Midlands senator Lilian Timveos, who is the Midlands South chairperson and wife of long-time party sponsor, Cypriot-Greek-Zimbabwean property tycoon Michael Timveos is the leading contender for the post of treasurer-general.
MDC has now confirmed it will hold an early congress in 2015, although no specific date has been given. This was after the party rank and file made vocal calls for the leadership to get rid of Biti and suspended deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma. The two, as well as party treasurer Roy Bennett are reported to be holding on to party funds and resources donated towards the 2013 election, with the intention, apparently, to form a new political party after it emerged their political careers in MDC were over.
Another suspected rebel, strategist Eddie Cross, declared his allegiance to Tsvangirai on Saturday, calling the former prime minister and trade union boss “nkosi yam’”, meaning “my leader”.
Serious jockeying for senior posts is now in progress ahead of the 2015 congress.