ZIMBABWE – HARARE – THE MDC Renewal Team is set for a major identify shift at its inaugural congress set for next month, which will see the party changing its name and other distinct features.
The Financial Gazette has it on good authority that the party will adopt the name People’s Democratic Party at the congress to run from September 9 to 11.
The party had initially planned to hold its congress last week but was forced to postpone the event after police turned down their request to use the Harare City Sports Centre as the venue for the elective congress because it had already been booked for another function.
Insiders within the MDC Renewal Team said there has been overwhelming support for the idea of coming up with a completely different name, party symbol and unveiling a new headquarters, although the party will maintain its orange colour.
The party will also introduce new slogans.
Party’s spokesman, Jacob Mafume, confirmed the developments this week saying they have decided to abandon the MDC acronym as a way of creating a distinct identity.
All the political formations that have emerged from the main MDC, which has split several times, have retained the MDC acronym, adopted at the party’s formation in 1999.
With more than five MDC formations fighting for political space in Zimbabwe, it has been a torturous exercise for the voter to make a distinction among them at the polling station.
“We are abandoning that,” said Mafume.
“We felt we needed to put people at the centre of what we are doing. You cannot claim to be different from something when you are known by the same name. We need to define ourselves by our own brand which we are confident will be able to restore the dignity of Zimbabwe and its citizens. The other parties have become so personalised that you have to dig deep to tell the difference between them and their presidents.”
At the convention, the opposition party will elect its new substantive national leadership after having gone for over a year with executives in acting capacities.
Former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) secretary-general, Tendai Biti, is widely tipped to become the party’s president after his closest rival, Elton Mangoma, left the party to lead his own political outfit called Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe.
He is currently the party’s secretary-general.
Former State enterprises minister, Gorden Moyo, is set to fight it out with prominent Masvingo lawyer and Member of Parliament, Tongai Matutu for the position of secretary-general.
Moyo currently heads the international relations committee.
Former Kuwadzana West legislator, Lucia Matibenga is tipped for the position of national chairperson while former Dzivaresekwa MP Solomon Madzore, Last Maengahama and former Kambuzuma MP, Willias Madzimure will battle it out for the organising secretary’s post.
Former MDC-T Manicaland chairperson, Julius Magarangoma, is believed to be eyeing the treasurer-general post, where he will do battle with one Benson Ntini.
Former water minister, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo is tipped to land the party’s vice presidency.
The MDC Renewal Team broke ranks with the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai in April last year.
Party officials say their vision is to form the next government, come 2018 general elections.
The congress will be held under the theme: Reclaiming Zimbabwe through formulation and implementation of sound people-centric policies.