MDC VP race: Party ‘to rig’ for Welshman for tribal balance, Biti concerned about ballot stuffing

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By Richard Chidza in Gweru

The race for MDC vice presidency at a party congress currently underway in Gweru will likely come down to one bruising political fight for the job between Tendai Biti and Morgen Komichi.

Top party sources told Sunday that former secretary general Welshman Ncube will likely be “allowed to win” in order to manage the ethnic balance.

“Ncube will be allowed to win somehow. It will be a disaster if he were not to and the party would not want to be sucked into that sticky situation.

“This leaves one slot for the vice presidency meaning Biti and Komichi with (Elias) Mudzuri, a distant outsider,” insiders said.

“Komichi has remained loyal to the party and president (Nelson Chamisa). He probably deserves it but capacity wise, Biti is way ahead but very ambitious. It’s a political banana skin for both the party and president.”

During a briefing session early Sunday, Biti expressed concern regarding the process.

“What safeguards have you (independent election commission) put in place to make sure there is no ballot stuffing,” the former party secretary general said.

In response, Mfundo Mlilo said the commission had enough capacity to deal with all concerns.

Another source said Ncube will only win if “there is political engineering. He is not very popular but the ethnic card will save him. The party will make sure he sails through.”

This leaves Biti and Komichi in a bitter scrap for power with Mudzuri already a right-off given his frosty relations with Chamisa.

The former Harare Mayor has not been seen at the congress.

However, responding to a question from outgoing secretary general Douglas Mwonzora as regards resolutions by the national executive regarding anomalies in Bulawayo and Mashonaland Central, Mlilo declared the voters roll would not be altered.

“We would need the resolutions to make a decision but for now, anyone not appearing on the voters roll will not be allowed to vote,” he said.

Curiously, despite concerns around the credibility of the voters roll, Mlilo said candidates will not be allowed to inspect the roll of voters.

Mwonzora is also involved in a political cat-fight against Charlton Hwende who is seen as a Chamisa blue-eyed boy.

Sources however said Chamisa does not have a favourite.

“He would probably want Mwonzora to win at least to keep capacity but politically, Hwende will serve his interests better,” heard.

Mwonzora complained bitterly about party organising secretary Amos Chibaya taking charge of a chaotic accreditation process at the gate.

“Chibaya is an interested party and should not be anywhere near the accreditation process. The commission must explain that,” he said.

An insider said Mwonzora’s support had actually suddenly surged in the past 24 hours.

“On Friday, nobody could talk about Mwonzora here but yesterday, we began to see brave individuals coming out and indicating they preferred him. Today I have seen this onion of support actually exploding into something else.

“It’s a tight race,” he said.

Another interesting battle is for the deputy chairperson where outgoing youth leader Happymore Chidziva will face Costa Machingauta and Job Sikhala.