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MDC national elective Congress 2019: Biti-Ncube rebirth or death

24 Apr 2019 at 08:19hrs | Views
Less than a month to the MDC crunch congress slated for Gweru, a lot is happening within the mainstream opposition outfit as the jostle for positions heats up. Interim party President Advocate & pastor Nelson Chamisa maintained his seat uncontested after almost all the 13 provinces endorsed him as the leader of the party for the next 5 years, after beating perceived challengers now secretary general Douglas Togarepi Mwonzora and VP Eng Elias Mudzuri. Both of them hardly got nominations for their current posts instead, from the look of things the two might not secure those positions against new challangers thrown into the ring.

On the same vein, the upcoming Congress will be a make or break for the Alliance party as some of its leaders may loose or grab influencial posts in the party. Those with the guts to make it are former PDP and MDC members such as Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube, David Coltart, Jacob Mafume and many others whose names appears on the nominations list for those vying for the powerful standing committee of the party. Of all, the eyes are mirrored on Biti and Ncube who seemed to be angling for the vice presidency where they are likely to tussle against strongman Morgan Komichi, Tracy Mutinhiri, Lynette Kore and Lillian Timveous respectively. Will the two brew a shocker? At present, only Morgan Komichi has the upper hand because he got 8 out of 13 nominations. Not to be outdone is Timveous who is trailing Komichi with 6 nominations. If things go by, Timveous is the most likely female candidate in the presidency who can break the misogyn that took place in the presidency following the departure of Thokozani Khupe.

With this matrix, Biti and Ncube would need a saviour for them to sail through but the question when and how they shall be saved as time is running out and the constitution is clear, there is shortcut to it save for joining the fray pan at congress. Even if it means that Chamisa needs them in the top as key lieutenants, there is no way he can use powers in his disposal to keep their political life afloat without going to Congress as doing so is ultra vires the constitution of the party.

In the meantime, the two must pull up extra hard if they are to win the hearts and minds of the party structures. Chief among them is to stand tall, apologize over the breakaway mistakes of the past otherwise this congress may probably embarrass them more than everyone would imagine because the structures of the main MDC led by the late Tsvangirai are the ones going to cast their votes. So some would make use of this congress to punish the two for past mistakes.

In my view, even the party President Nelson Chamisa saw this coming that is why he is plotting to elevate others who may fall by the wayside at congress. He knows that Biti and Ncube are one of them.

Despite efforts by Ncube to push for equal representation of regions in the leadership, the idea, though noble, will this time attract few takers because the party constitution has no clause that empowers reserving seats for a certain tribe. Its constitution is very clear on that one that all seats or positions are up for grab therefore such is the danger for Welshman Ncube and company because there shall be no sacred cows at congress. Chakapukunyuka muduri chosangana neguyo.

Against such backdrop, the electorate might forgive Tendai Biti on the account of the role he played during and after the subtle 30 July 2019 national plebiscite. Biti stood vocal against voting rigging and subsequent army killings of the 1st of August 2018, even though it earned him violent reprisals from the government, he demonstrated to the whole world that he is a fearless leader who can sacrifice his soul for the total emancipation of the majority as such the party needs the person like him to steer the change message under this current turbulent electoral environment in the country. Compared to Ncube, the vice chairperson's brazen character alongside his previous achievement as the Minister of Finance during the GNU period all lifts his brand and sellability within the mainstream MDC circles.

Above all, Biti's strong attachment with the international community is needed in the party which had lost love with the donor community during the days of Tsvangirai. The party may need him also in the treasury to fill in the void left by Roy paChedu Bennet who crushed to death aboard a private helicopter in Mexico. However in the treasury department TB must fight hard if he is to outclass newly nominated favourite David Coltart who got 7 out of the 13 provinces. Coltart though with little prowess in finances might be the right successor of  Bennet by virtue of his skin. The white community might need one of their own to keep the wallet for them to start pouring the much needed aid.

Meanwhile the party is in deep financial mess which requires urgent support. Britain, US and the EU were the major financiers of the main outfit of late but the two had lost love over a litany of accusations. Should Biti, Coltart or Tapiwa Mashakada takes the role of finance chief the task at hand is to work towards reunification with the donors. Amongst them the unambiguous thing is that Biti is equal to the task despite falling in love with the grassroots structures during the days of the 2014 breakaway he choreographed at Mandel.


Welshman Ncube is a dark horse in the presidency in that there is less extols for him to talk about but rather more bad on his side if we rewind the past. He engineered a coup d'etat that nearly toppled Morgan Tsvangirai in 2005 only to miss him by an inch after the then Chairperson Isaac Matongo and the youth league refused to back up his plan. Although the masses sympathized with Tsvangirayi then, the breakaway party of Ncube went away with many key members of the standing committee including then vice President Gibson Sibanda, Treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube, SG himself and spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi among others. Not to forget is the party accounts which Ncube's outfit grabbed that left the main wing almost grounded. Thanks to the well wishers and donors that chipped in with the assistance of the late Roy Bennet whose networks with the outside world brought thrills and a new sign of relief for the people's revolution. Famous by his hardwork Bennet earned himself the enemy of the state for his selfless work that aided and reinforced the opposition party in their quest for change in the country, in this light he was summarily arrested so many times until he skipped our borders for fear his dear life. Latterly, Bennet died in foreign land while in exile. May his soul rest in peace.

Could the electorate forgive Welshman for selling out the struggle? From the readings of the ongoing nominations, its clear the people in the party are yet to forgive him as evidenced by his home town Bulawayo's outright isolation of Ncube whose name found missing in their nomination list. Obviously Ncube was sidelined for those wrongs hence the remaining days are crucial for him to seek rapprochement and reunion with the grassroots failure of which spell doom for the Alliance party. Thus the upcoming Congress is crunch time for the Alliance.

Not only for the Alliance but a defeat at congress is very dangerous for Ncube personally in that it will end his political life for good because he cannot go back and ressurect his outfit which is no more. The Alliance party decimated his baby and there is no way he can rebuild it after misfortunes at Congress. Seriously, our professor must pull up the socks, stand firm, apologize for the wrongdoings and reconnect with the grassroots in order to come out victorious in the May plebiscite. There is still enough time to mobilize unless or otherwise he wants to test the waters and cause confusiom as before because history has taught us that Ncube is unpredictable. he has no staight ticket to the presidency. He must forget the idea of regionalism and the so called Ndebele ticket simply because every post is up for grab at the Congress. By the way, the party says no to scapegoating, double dipping and riding behind someone's back because president Nelson Chamisa ran his own race without any scafolds, so what more to Ncube. He must copy cat the leader.

There is something interesting here which Ncube and company must conscientize that Thokozani Khupe will have the last laugh in the event the professor fall by the wayside, come Congress. He will be the laughing stark. Here are the caveats for the respected UZ tutor. In order to prove critics wrong, Ncube must display a vigorous campaign and grab the vice presidency ticket fair and square. That way, the respected professor might emerge another Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo after the Congress in Gweru.

Put different, mulling gentlemen's agreement with the president is no good move and undemocratic in terms of the party constitution. Doing so prompts imminent split within the Alliance party, and obviously the biggest casualty to any split is the president who is tenaciously working on uniting the party than dividing it. If Professor Ncube is now a reformed person, with love of the party he has to add value by advocating and embracing the good tenets of internal democracy through canvassing for support the way others are doing.


Losing a person like professor Welshman Ncube is tantamount and inimical to the strength of Chamisa's leadership because at his age, he requires a mature advisor who can assist him in leading a major party like MDC with millions of followers. During his last days, President Morgan Tsvangirai implored Ncube, as a veteran politician and professor per se to look after the promising young man by giving nurture and unstinting leadership guidance, a task due to him now that the youthful leader got preference from the structures to continue at the helm for the next 5 years. Ncube must in turn fight to sail through in the presidency and carry on the guidance task in fulfillment to Tsvangirai whim.

To achieve that, Ncube has to fend off stern challengers on the ballot booth at Ascot stadium, Gweru this coming May. Tsvangirai gave him the nod by readmitting him back to the mainstream party and now the onus is in him to payback the legacy and dignity endangered for him by his late leader. If he make use of Tsvangirai's last words perhaps that might help him lure the voters especially those that sympathized with their late leader.

In simple terms, Prof Ncube has an upper hand so far as the party president Chamisa endorsed him more than the others courtesy of Tsvangirai advice. But all he must do is to avoid complacency and procrastination because time is not on his side, the Congress is around the corner hence he must stand up and be counted otherwise it might spell doom for him and other comrades of him.

I can conclude that the upcoming Congress might be a rebirth or death for Biti-Ncube.

I rest my case.

Source - Benny Gudo
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