MDC-T bigwigs Mr Nelson Chamisa and Mr Tapiwa Mashakada have been reduced to ordinary card-carrying members after they lost in the opposition party’s elective congress which spilled overnight from Saturday, only to end yesterday morning.
Deputy organising secretary Mr Amos Chibaya and long serving member Mr Gift Chimanikire also fell by the wayside in the elections carried out using secret ballot.
The voting process was conducted throughout Saturday night and spilled into yesterday morning.
Mr Chamisa lost to the party’s immediate past secretary for information and publicity Mr Douglas Mwonzora for the post of secretary-general.
Thousands of congregants for the United Family International Church had to patiently wait outside the City Sports Centre to allow MDC-T to wind up its elections before they could access the venue hours after their scheduled time for their weekly church service.
The MDC-T was forced to hold an early congress after party secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti and deputy national treasurer Mr Elton Mangoma formed the MDC Renewal Team after a fallout with party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Chamisa lost the battle despite being nominated by 11 party provinces against Mr Mwonzora’s one, making him the early favourite to replace Mr Biti.
But the tables were turned against him when Mr Mwonzora garnered 2 464 against his 1 762 during the secret ballot.
Shocked by the result, Mr Chamisa sneaked out of the venue before the announcement of the election results.
Mufakose MP Ms Paurina Gwanyanya-Mpariwa became the party’s deputy secretary-general unopposed.
The party’s acting secretary-general Mr Tapiwa Mashakada lost to Mrs Theresa Makone for the post of national treasurer, while Mr Abednico Bhebhe beat Mkoba MP Mr Chibaya to land the post of organising secretary.
Mrs Makone got 2 117 against Mr Mashakada’s 2 016, while Mr Bhebhe got 2 455 against Mr Chibaya’s 1 755. The new secretary for information and publicity is Mr Obert Gutu, who won unopposed. Party national executive member Mr Charlton Hwende garnered 1 763 against Mr Bernard Chiondengwa’s 1 756 votes to land the post of deputy national treasurer.
Party deputy national chairperson Mr Morgan Komichi retained his post when he got 3 650 against long serving member Mr Gift Chimanikire who secured a paltry 452.
Mr Thamsaqa Mahlangu landed the post of deputy organising secretary when he secured 3 800 to beat Mr Costa Machingauta. MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Ms Thokozani Khupe and national chairperson Mr Lovemore Moyo were retained unopposed.
Party spokesperson Mr Gutu described the low-key congress as historic.
So low-key was the MDC-T congress that it failed to make it to the front pages of all mainstream media and played second fiddle to the Zanu-PF Politburo meeting on social media.
“The congress was historic in the sense that it came at the background of worrisome developments of a split,” he said.
“Many people had written us off, but our party members sacrificed by selling their goats and chickens to attend the event.
“The congress was held successfully despite a shoe string budget.”