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MDC Renewal to hold inaugural congress this week

THE MDC Renewal will finally hold its inaugural congress next week amid expectations that the party will rebrand and throw in some life into Zimbabwe’s ailing opposition politics.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Spokesperson of the party, Jacob Mafume, told The Standard that their congress was likely to attract a sizeable number of delegates from opposition parties in the Sadc region, as well as foreign diplomats.

It is rumoured the party might adopt People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as its new name, while former Finance minister Tendai Biti is likely to be confirmed as the president.

TENDAI-BITI

Late last month police banned the congress following a clash over the venue at City Sports Centre, which had already been booked by Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church.

The party announced that 7 000 delegates were expected to attend the two-day congress slated for September 10-11.

“We have secured police clearance and have paid for the venue as well,” said Mafume.

“We are ready to go and nothing will stop the wishes of the people this time. We have invited 7 000 delegates from our structures and we have also invited fellow social democratic parties from Zambia, Swaziland, Kenya and Malawi.

“We have sent invites to all diplomats registered in Zimbabwe and over half of them have confirmed their attendance,” said Mafume, adding that civil society, residents’ associations and churches would be part of the inaugural congress.

Those likely to lead the party include Biti (president), current leader Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, former Public Services minister Lucia Matibenga as chairperson, Gorden Moyo as secretary general, Solomon Madzore for the portfolio of organising secretary, while Evelyn Masaiti is tipped to be elected the women’s boss.

The electoral process will be monitored by the election watchdog — Election Resource Centre (ERC).

MDC Renewal split from the mainstream MDC-T last year following sharp differences between former Energy minister Elton Mangoma and Morgan Tsvangirai.

A total of 21 legislators walked out on Tsvangirai, as well as other top party officials, including Biti himself, accusing Tsvangirai of failing to deliver as expected in the 2013 elections.

However, the MDC Renewal suffered a set back after it split once again this year with another group led by Mangoma (Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe) claiming irreconcilable differences with the group led by Biti.

Mafume said the issue of a coalition with other parties would be addressed at the congress where new policies were expected to be crafted and launched.

“We will discuss our economic blueprint. The focus of the congress will be to come up with an alternative economic roadmap because what people need are solutions over this economy,” he said.

“We are also keen to deal with another document, Arrest which deals with the political roadmap and what needs to be done for the 2018 elections. We will try to place ourselves before the nation with policies, and not just our names.”

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