INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister, Professor Welshman Ncube, has taken over as MDC president, replacing Professor Arthur Mutambara who did not seek re-election.
Ncube – previously the party’s secretary general – was not challenged after Mutambara opted to stand down.
Mutambara, a deputy prime minister in the coalition government, told delegates to the party’s ongoing congress in Harare that he had opted to stand aside in the interests of party unity.
Delegates applauded when he added that he was prepared to be an ordinary card carrying member of the party.
Meanwhile, Ncube – a constitutional law professor and former Member of Parliament for Bulawayo East – will be deputised by Edwin Mushoriwa while Regional Integration and International Co-operation Minister, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, comes in as the new secretary general.
Paul Themba Nyathi takes over as treasurer general while Goodrich Chimbaira becomes chairperson.
In a statement, the party said the re-organisation of the management committee demonstrated its commitment to democracy and constitutionalism.
“While conformity to term limit and transfer of power remain a challenge to other political parties who pretend to fight for democracy our congress is a testimony that this is possible in this country and of course in this generation,” the statement read.
A number of senior officials were not eligible for re-appointment to their positions having served the mandatory two terms provided for under the party’s current constitution.
Ncube is expected to represent the party in the next general elections although it remains unclear whether he will take over Mutambara’s place in the coalition government.
Mutambara was appointed deputy prime minister by virtue of being leader of the MDC faction which broke away from the original party led by Morgan Tsvanbgirai in 2005.
However, constitutional law experts have said he could yet retain his position in the government.
“Mutambara was sworn in by the President in terms of Amendment number 19 Act and that is the Constitution. It is only (President) Mugabe who can either force him to resign or dismiss him, if he is not happy with his performance,” constitutional law lecturer, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, said recently
“The Global Political Agreement (GPA) is not the Constitution and is a separate arrangement. So, Mutambara is likely to complete his term in the inclusive government,” he added.