Mudzuri bounces back
By Paidamoyo Muzulu
FORMER Energy and Power Development minister Elias Mudzuri has bounced back into an enlarged MDC-T national executive council at a heated six-hour national council meeting in Harare yesterday.
According to party insiders, national council members questioned the logic of retaining people who were rejected by party structures at the national elective congress last month.
Just about all the people who lost their positions at congress were retained by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to “mend” cracks in the party, which expanded its NEC from 30 to 38.
Of the 15 people appointed to the NEC yesterday, Mudzuri, Lucia Matibenga, Thabita Khumalo, Paurina Mpariwa, Thansanqa Mahlangu, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro and Amos Chibaya all contested and lost polls in the positions they had been nominated for. The rest, who include Gabbuza Joel Gabbuza, Kerry Kay, Concilia Chinanzvavana, Luta Shaba, Spiwe Ncube, Henry Madzorera, Eddie Cross and Sesel Zvidzai failed to secure nominations.
Insiders said the standing committee now comprised Tsvangirai’s “favourites” brought back from the political wilderness.
“Council members were controlled in their criticism of nominations from the standing committee for appointment to the national executive so as not to cause offence to the party leadership,” said the source who was part of the meeting.
“Some members questioned the omission of people like Innocent Gonese from the list while those rejected by party structures got a second bite of the cherry.”
The national council also threw out a petition from provincial chairpersons seeking to be automatic members of the national executive by virtue of their positions.
New party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the developments last night saying the national council held long deliberations over the NEC appointments and rejected the chairpersons’ petition because it would require a (MDC) constitutional amendment, and also because it was tabled irregularly.
Mwonzora said: “These names from the standing committee were simply proposals and hence we allowed debate. However, no names were rejected by the council.
“Provinces had adequate time to table constitutional amendments to congress but they didn’t do so. It is not clear whether they were speaking for themselves or the provinces as there were no minutes to corroborate their suggestions.”
Tsvangirai faced a difficult balancing act of placating anger among losing candidates and demands of new provincial leaders calling for the exclusion of his suspected cronies, but most were left dejected.
“I am disgusted. That’s a bunch of congress losers and some pretty incompetent fellows there,” said one senior party member in reference to the new NEC appointees.
However, Mwonzora insisted that his party followed a transparent criterion to appoint people to the NEC.
“The standing committee considered the history of an individual, their expertise, consistency in working for the party and what value they add to the party before their names were proposed to the national council,” Mwonzora said.
Meanwhile, the national council adopted a congress resolution to set up an independent commission of inquiry to look into the intra-party violence which engulfed provincial congresses. Violent cases were recorded in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Chitungwiza, Mashonaland West and Midlands North.
Mwonzora said: “We will soon institute an independent committee to examine the cases. The party is waiting for nominations of people perceived to be neutral and independent so that the process is not tainted.”