“A TEAM” – is it real return of the MDC Class of ’99


Stewart Musarapasi

The outcome of the just-ended 5th MDC Congress, held in Gweru recently, can be called the return of the original MDC pioneers to the gallery.

The grand occasion was graced by two notable persons – the first one being the outspoken but vigilant Chief Nhlanhla Ndiweni of Nhlambabaloyi, who has of late has been talking about the solutions of our nation, which needs to be urgently saved from the dire situation we are in right now. The other was Ugandan Opposition icon – musician-cum politician, Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, popularly known by his stage name Bobi Wine, who flew into Zimbabwe specifically for the congress.

The ratification of the party’s constitution managed to pave way for the then break-away leaders and now prodigal sons of the party in Professor Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and Job Sikhala, to be allowed to contest. They each managed to scoop gold as victors on the top brass of the party’s hierarchical structures. This was alluded to by the party National Chairperson, Tabitha Khumalo, as she read the resolutions before announcement of the much-awaited presidium results. The prodigal sons were welcomed back with full membership benefits which enabled them to participate in the Congress elections.

The now famously called the “A Team Leadership” is composed of the original class of 1999 MDC members, who by then were either political novices or holding insignificant positions following the party’s launch exactly two decades ago.

The High Court judgement, which had ruled in favour of the other MDC-T Khupe party some weeks ago, did not disturb or even stop the progress of the Gweru 5th MDC Congress as the latter filed an appeal to the Supreme Court a few days before delegates attended the Congress.

Neutral critics have confirmed that the just-ended gathering was one of the most-successful opposition Congresses ever seen in Zimbabwe, save for some minor drawbacks that include the slow voting process and the timed and suspicious power cut.

Advocate Nelson Chamisa was handed an official five-year leadership mandate, after he won the seat with all 13 provinces of the party nominating him uncontested. More interesting is that Advocate Chamisa managed to charm the party structures to be able to unanimously consent in voting and welcoming back the rich brains of the members, who at one time fled party business to launch their own projects, which did not succeed.

Professor Weshman Ncube, one of the Vice Presidents, had led his own party in 2005, Tendai Biti, another new Vice President, formed the People’s Democratic Party after the 2013 elections, while Job Sikhala – now deputy national chairperson at one time left the party and formed the MDC99, which became a product failure on its inception.

The ascendancy of those three prodigal sons among other notable figures, who won the top positions, has seen those faithful to the party nickname the top organ as the A TEAM. Whether it will deliver to the level of the people’s expectation remains a wait and see proposition.

The democratic process of voting hasn’t been of a good taste to a number of individuals within the top structures of the opposition MDC in the past, as prominent people like the then Vice President Elias Mudzuri and former Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora ate humble pie, losing dismally and being – as many have now put it, thrown under the bus. The story of these two losers has been a widespread alleged rumour that they may be linked to the Khupe faction, with some reports which pointed out that they are apologetic to Zanu PF – allegations which to this date have not been sufficiently proven though its within circles.

Lynette Karenyi Kore brought in a huge screamer of surprise as she gave those who treated her as an underdog the shock of their life – winning the woman Vice President slot. A humble party member with an amazing history within the party structures of becoming the first rural ward 16 opposition councilor for Mutare in 2003, she became party ward 16 secretary in 1999, later being elevated to become Mutare North District Secretary in the year 2000.

She entered the Mutare Provincial structures in 2006, where she became Provincial Secretary and in 200, she scooped the National Organizing Secretary for the Women’s Assembly. Vice President Kore made a breakthrough to become a Member of Parliament for Chimanimani in 2008. The rising woman became the National Women’s Chairperson of the party at the 2014 4th Congress. Surprisingly, it was alleged at the Congress that she did not have enough backing from her own Province, but she still managed triumph to the presidium. That was a great victory to the women of the party as she personifies a humble leader.     

Advocate Nelson Chamisa, in jubilation, closed the 5th Congress with notable remarks, as he said: “This was the best Congress since the formation of MDC”.

“I will be surrounded by the cream of leadership, we will modernize the party and become the best political party in the continent,” said Chamisa.

He went on further to say no party would defeat MDC and that Zanu must be taught modern politics. Advocate Chamisa said the main agenda ahead of party leadership was transformation, changing the politics of corruption, to have decent jobs for the people, decent health decent education.

He closed by thanking all members present for a successful violent free congress.

Stewart Musarapasi is a Business and Political Analyst based in Europe

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