Chamisa stuns big wigs. . . as he pushes for a woman to be one of his VPs

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has set the cat among the pigeons in his party, after he recently suggested that one of the MDC’s three posts of vice president should be reserved for a woman, the Daily News can report.

This has agitated some of his ambitious lieutenants who intend to go for the posts when the country’s main opposition gathers at its elective congress in May — as their chances of falling by the wayside have just gone a notch up.

This comes as an insane rate race for the posts has ensued in the party, with nearly a dozen heavyweights expected to throw their names into the ring at the eagerly-anticipated elective congress.
The MDC will hold the congress from May 24 to 26, to choose a new party leadership — including the substantive successor to its revered founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, who died early last year after losing his valiant battle against cancer of the colon.

The popular and charismatic Chamisa, who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in last year’s historic elections, could face competition from either Elias Mudzuri or respected secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora at the gathering.

However, it is the three posts of vice president which could ignite real fireworks, with well-placed party sources confirming to the Daily News yesterday that these would be contested by a number of senior officials. But in a new twist to the eagerly-awaited elections, Chamisa appeared to have thrown spanners in the works of some of his powerful colleagues, after he indicated that the party’s presidium needed gender balance.

“We want to advance you. We want to elevate you. That is why we came here to celebrate balance ... which is the theme for this celebration. “We want to make sure we have balanced our leadership … as we go to the congress. Let us balance leadership in the party structures,” the MDC leader told women who gathered in Chitungwiza last weekend to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Chamisa went on to heap praise on women’s assembly boss Lynnet Karenyi-Kore, whom he lauded for having provided “inspiring leadership which he was proud of” in the party.
“We have known Karenyi-Kore for a long time when she was a councillor in Mutare. She has developed tremendously.

“I know she is going to school, she is advancing herself. All women wherever you are continue to advance and we want you to feel encouraged that MDC is the home for all women who want to develop, including young female leaders,” he said further.

MDC insiders told the Daily News yesterday that while it was “not cast in stone” that Karenyi-Kore would get one of the party’s VP posts, it was “very telling” that Chamisa had praised her at a time that she was actively pushing for promotion.

The MDC’s three current vice presidents are all men — comprising Welshman Ncube, Morgen Komichi and Mudzuri. Thus far, it is also not clear if the party will keep this structure intact or return to its old arrangement where it had only two vice presidents.

Among the notable party bigwigs who are said to be vying for the VPs’ posts include Komichi, Ncube, vice chairperson Tendai Biti, Mwonzora, chairperson Tabitha Khumalo and secretary for elections Murisi Zwizwai. Karenyi-Kore, former Labour minister Paurina Mpariwa, Midlands Senator Lillian Timveos and treasurer-general Theresa Makone are the other women said to be also eyeing the posts.

While none of these bigwigs have openly declared their ambitions yet, preferring to wait until they are officially nominated by party structures for the positions, Karenyi-Kore recently hinted at her higher ambitions by calling for the elevation of women to the MDC’s top decision-making positions.

She also said that she was aware that her supporters wanted to know what position she would contest at the May elective congress, but said cryptically: “I would like to throw the ball in your court my beloved MDC … family”. “What is your advice as leaders and supporters of our party? I will be willing to take up a position of the people’s choice where supporters feel I can best represent the movement.

“In the meantime, speaking on behalf of many women in the movement, my wish is to see a balanced leadership that also puts the issue of gender into consideration. “I also wish to see a reasonable number of women in senior positions, including the standing committee, national executive, provincial executives, district executives, ward executives and branch executives,” Karenyi-Kore said.

Other party sources told the Daily News yesterday that Chamisa’s weekend remarks could spell trouble for many bigwigs among the prospective male candidates for the VP posts — including Biti and Ncube who only returned to the main opposition party in August 2017 when, the late Tsvangirai formed an alliance with their respective parties.

Both Biti and Ncube are former secretaries-general of the original united MDC. In 2005, Ncube walked out of the party accusing Tsvangirai of being a dictator — while Biti similarly packed his bags in 2014 after also accusing Tsvangirai of having dictatorial tendencies.

The sources added that Komichi and Mudzuri, who are already in the presidium, could be favoured by their intimate knowledge of party structures — where Biti and Ncube allegedly had “all to do to win over support”. One of these insiders also said while Ncube appeared “a shoo-in” to retain his post, this could change if the party decided to reserve one of the VP posts for a woman from Matabeleland.

Previously, one of the party’s then two VP posts was occupied by Thokozani Khupe — who later formed her own breakaway party last year, following an ugly leadership wrangle in the MDC.

Another insider said should the party decide to have a woman from the Shona-speaking side of the country as one of its VPs, as was “most likely” given Chamisa’s recent remarks, this would mean that the likes of Biti, Zwizwai, Mudzuri and Komichi would fall by the wayside.

Comments (12)

Was this proposal approved at National Council or other such fora? Is it the opinion of Mr Chamisa alone? If so Dictatorship, Mugabe style is in the offing be warned!!

Kambiri - 14 March 2019

MDC never had 2 VPs but 3. From 1999 to 2016, it's always been 1 VP. From 2016, they were 3 until last year when Khupe left and Nelson was elevated. They had one VP for a brief period. Then Komichi and Ncube were coopted to take the number to 3.

Name Withheld - 14 March 2019

Point of correction: Chamisa did not narrowly lose to ED. We all know who won that election. And secondly, what's wrong with woman VP? I think we should elevate them wherever we can. Men have been spectacular failures anyways.

Moe Syszlack - 14 March 2019

@Kambiri what is wrong with Chamisa putting up his opinion, he is a party member and can put proposals forward just like any member then it goes for debate. This has not been approved or debated but it is a great idea from a great party.

Qawe laMaqawe - 14 March 2019

aka ndoo kambiti kemunhu. very inconsistent like his uncle bob. you don't just wake up and shout that I want a woman this a woman that kunge zvinonzi mukadzi wako wauinaye mubedroom. with such zealot approach, unfortunately ediot pfee 2023 and suffer continue. apa I think he wants to do away with all ambitious would-be vp saana mbiti na doug then he remains with useless skunks like thabita, charlson mbwende naana bvondo. party yochizofa manje.

mukovhe watshilidzi - 14 March 2019

Voersteerk fockufu wenyu....Its the Robbers and Muggers advising you this hotchpotch. You think we are so daft and dull? You got that advise from Robert and Grace nhai? Donkey will never be horses......Ok.....? Go to hell ith your Robbers and Muggers..boy

Clemence Tashaya - 15 March 2019

Editor use spell check there no such thing as "rate race" its "rat race" in English

Mufaro Sibanda - 15 March 2019

Yes we also want one of our own from that region we have been sidelined for a long long tyme even ZANU PF has done the same but zimbabweans should know all frontlines for the strugle were from first from Manicaland then later spread to the other parts of the countries, So please we need our own Karenyi I think is the best option I understand even from xool she was a tought oponent in her number as a netball player so strong she is so gane on guys WASU WASU pa nzvimbo

MANYIKA - 15 March 2019

Mukovhe what are you saying ko Mugabe said it just arriving at the Airport kuti Mai Mujuru vaka rasisa Ngwena so thats how it is there is no childish if some one who was 90 years by that time also said it from the plane kana anga akanakirwa ne ndege ameno kkkkk

MUKOVHE - 15 March 2019

I don't understand why there should be 3 VP's... What exactly is the benefit of this?

The beautiful ones are not yet born - 15 March 2019

It's jobs for the boys and girls

willo - 15 March 2019

Why is it "necessary" to be gender specific for occupying any positions in a party leadership??? Should it not be that any individual party member should be elected to a party position based on the member's PERFORMANCE and suitability for that particular post? Is it really necessary to specify the gender of a member for positions in party leadership? Is it not time to reconsider the yardsticks for eligibility to be in party leadership? Is it not time to allow members to elect into leaders any member that will BEST SERVE the aims and objectives of the party irrespective of their gender? Food for thought and discussion

Madwala - 16 March 2019

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