By Blessed Mhlanga
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa faces a delicate balancing act of making critical appointments to serve in his top party decision-making body, the national standing committee, amid jostling and lobbying by mainly those who lost at the elective congress held in Gweru last month.
Critical posts that need to be filled include party spokesperson, organising secretary, secretary for elections, international relations and secretary for health.
Jostling has already started in the opposition party, with Chamisa’s top allies, who include former youth assembly leader Happymore Chidziva, current spokesperson Jacob Mafume, ex-organiser Amos Chibaya, former vice-president Morgen Komichi and losing vice-presidental candidate Lilian Timveous waiting in the wings for appointments.
Insiders say Chamisa faces a daunting task driven by the desire to promote unity in the party after a divisive congress,
which left some of his faithful smarting from the bitter wounds of defeat.
“There are those in the party bitter after losing to members who once left the party. They think the party rewarded sellouts and these can be pacified by being appointed into the standing committee, but if they miss the bus, they could work against Chamisa,” a source said.
Chamisa also has to balance the equation by making appointments that add value to the party ahead of the 2023 general elections, which could make or break him, another source said.
But the youthful opposition leader said he was not under any pressure because the MDC was not a party of positions, but proposition.
“This is a party of the people and it will make appointments and deployments through the national council. This is going to happen soon after a number of issues have been looked into to ensure we build the best team going forward,” he said.
Insiders said Mafume is likely to be retained as party spokesmen, although there is some discontent that former members of Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party could have taken a lion’s share in the just-ended congress.
“Mafume remains the best candidate so far. His history with the media and the fact that he has handled the portfolio with skill will favour him. Politics aside, he is our best candidate,” another source said.
Tapiwa Mashakada is likely to be appointed deputy treasurer-general, while there is a major push to elevate Happymore Chidziva to the position of organising secretary.
Chamisa has the challenge of dealing with former secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, who many are not keen of him being part of the standing committee.
Komichi, who had also been elevated to vice-president, is another difficult call, because any appointment would be a demotion to his political life, which appeared to be on the rise.
Having lost to Biti and Welshman Ncube in the race to vice-presidency, Komichi has said he was hurt and needed healing.
“I will not leave the party. I will stand by my young man (Chamisa) and serve in whatever capacity I will have been appointed. I am hurt, yes, but I need your help so that I can heal,” Komichi said.
Chidziva said he would be appointed to a suitable position by the man he helped raise.
As youth leader, he was instrumental in defending the appointment of Chamisa to party VP and his eventual appointment as party president.
Also waiting in line for appointments are former treasurer-general Theresa Makone, Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya, Murisi Zwizwai, backbencher Jameson Timba and former presidential spokesperson Luke Tambarinyoka.
Congress expanded the standing committee to include deputy secretaries and all secretaries appointed after congress. NewsDay