IN a desperate effort to bridge the intra-party differences that have rocked the MDC, party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to re-deploy ousted women
217;s assembly chairperson Lucia Matibenga as the national vice-chairperson.
Highly placed sources said Tsvangirai agreed to put aside the Matibenga issue during last Saturday’s meeting hoping to convince her to accept the new offer before the MDC annual conference scheduled for next month in Harare. The post of national vice-chairman fell vacant following the death of former national chairperson Isaac Matongo in May and the automatic elevation of his deputy Lovemore Moyo, in terms of the MDC constitution.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed that his party was due to hold an annual conference in December where it would review progress and fill-in vacancies that could have arisen during the course of the year.
“Any appointments or election of members to the party is a prerogative of the congress or the annual conference,” he said. “In this particular case we are going to hold an annual conference but as to who is going the be elected to what post, it’s for the conference to decide.”
However, sources said Matibenga had turned down offers for the post of vice national chairperson before the women’s assembly debacle came to the fore, arguing that the move would relegate her to a less powerful position and gradually into political obscurity. Although the Matibenga issue still remained unresolved, Tsvangirai impressed upon the MDC leadership in his address last weekend to treat the issue as “water under the bridge” and to now concentrate on other priorities.
Moyo, who oversaw the election of Makone, failed to attend the Saturday meeting as he was reportedly in South Africa for the ongoing President Thabo Mbeki-led talks between the MDC and Zanu PF.