DAGGERS have been drawn in the MDC-T main wing and women’s assembly where top party officials are reportedly slugging out to land two key posts — treasurer-general and women’s wing chairperson’s — at next month’s elective congress in Harare.
This came amid reports that the current women’s wing chairperson Theresa Makone had firmly sat her eyes on the treasurer-general’s post where she was believed to have the backing of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
But Makone will likely face stern test from Harare provincial party spokesperson Obert Gutu, also a Tsvangirai prodigy, James Gumbi and David Chimhini, who are also vying for the same post.
Although no comment could be obtained from Gutu, it is believed that he had an edge over all other candidates, hence there were manoeuvres within the party to persuade him to fight for party spokesperson post.
Makone and her husband Ian were believed to be part of Tsvangirai’s “Kitchen Cabinet” responsible for most key decisions on behalf of the opposition party.
Party insiders told NewsDay yesterday that jostling for the women’s assembly’s hot seat had taken nasty twists and turns with some of the candidates reportedly using unorthodox means, including name-calling, to decampaign their rivals.
The four candidates vying for the seat include Matabeleland North MP Sibusisiwe Budha (Proportional Representation), former Chimanimani MP Lynette Karenyi, Mufakose MP Paurina Mpariwa and Midlands South provincial chairperson Lilian Timveos.
All the four candidates confirmed their interest in contesting the post yesterday.
According to insiders, the real fight was said to be between labour trade unionist and founding member Mpariwa and Timveos, the party’s only female provincial chairperson.
Timveos’ rivals accused her of not playing an active role until recently when she was elected provincial chairperson while Mpariwa has been linked
to a team of party rebels led by axed secretary-general Tendai Biti.
“Mpariwa wants to use her labour movement trump card to get the post and she wants the party to respect the founding members of the party,” the source said.
Mpariwa yesterday confirmed her interest to contest the post, but denied reports that she was linked to the Biti camp and employing dirty campaign tactics.
“If people choose me, I will gladly accept the position. As you know, I am one of the founding members of MDC, so I have no one to leave this party with. I will die in the party as we formed the party,” she said.
Timveos told NewsDay that she had been approached by some provinces who wanted her to chair the women’s assembly and denied charges that she was a Johnnie-come-lately in the party.
“What I can confirm to you is that I have been approached by some of the provinces. If they [women] see that I have the qualities, I will not let Zimbabwe down.
Our party is a democratic party. If the women have said they want me, I cannot say no to them,” Timveous, who doubles up as MDC-T Midlands senator and Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, said.
She, however, referred further questions to party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora whose mobile phone continually rang unanswered yesterday.
Budha said she would accept the post if elected by congress.
“I want to contest. Everyone can contest, but it’s only one person who wins. I am eligible and I am a member of the party who has a clean record,” she said.
Contacted for comment, Karenyi was coy, saying: “To be honest, we have not sat down together as women assembly to discuss the issue. One cannot elect herself for that post.”
All party posts, including the presidency, were up for grabs with Tsvangirai likely to have an easy run over former Energy minister Elias Mudzuri.
Tsvangirai’s deputy Thokozani Khupe faces a challenge from several dark horses, among them deputy chairperson Morgen Komichi.