HARARE – MDC leader Nelson Chamisa will name an “alternative cabinet” in the coming days after his party announced a new national executive committee.
Chamisa, who maintains he won elections last year before a conspiracy was hatched to deny him victory, said his alternative cabinet would be a “broad, inclusive tent.”
“Ours is not a shadow cabinet but an alternative cabinet because we believe and know that the one that is there is not the real cabinet. If it was real, we would have a shadow cabinet but we don’t have a real cabinet because of legitimacy issues,” Chamisa told journalists in Harare on Thursday.
“We’re going to have an alternative cabinet which would be very mean and lean. I’ve seen the confusion in the media that we have announced a cabinet, this is not the cabinet. What we have announced are portfolio secretaries. The cabinet will come at the appropriate moment, very soon.”
The MDC held its congress last month, and elected Chamisa as successor to its founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Party supporters also elected various portfolio secretaries to form the national executive committee, which is responsible for driving the party’s programmes.
Chamisa created and filled new vacancies in the national executive, mostly by appointing deputy secretaries to accommodate some leaders defeated at congress.
He made his first appointment from outside the MDC after convincing former independent parliamentary candidate Fadzayi Mahere to join as education, sports and culture secretary.
“Democracy is about multiple and different opinions being entertained for the purposes of building a coherent and cohesive movement; it’s about forming a network of cooperation such as ours,” Chamisa said.
“It’s about striking a balance between public opinion and competence, it’s also about striking a balance between loyalty to the struggle, to the cause, and to the party and of course skills and competence that are required. Meritocracy is our core basis in defining who is going to be deployed where and who’s going to play what role. So, competence is very important.”
Chamisa hinted that his alternative cabinet would have people from outside the party, emphasising that he wanted to build a “strong team of diverse talents”.
“We want to make sure that whoever has talent let them come on board. Experts, activists, trade union leaders have to be part of the revolutionary train to a new Zimbabwe,” he said.
He encouraged MDC members who failed to land appointments to continue working for the party, saying it was not possible to accommodate everyone.
“Of course, we should know that wherever there’s an election, there’s dejection and wherever there is an appointment, there is disappointment – that is the nature of democracy, but the beauty is that we are one united team ready to deliver change,” he said.
The MDC would be appointing an independent tribunal of lawyers to which party members can appeal against internal decisions, and the party would also be appointing an auditor to keep an eye on its finances, Chamisa revealed.
The MDC is also planning to amend its constitution to introduce term limits.
“We must introduce term limits for all key positions in the party. Leaders must be able to lead and leave. Leaders must not lead, and lead, and lead and remain leading. We must allow leaders to come and go, and that is the culture we are starting to implement in the party,” said Chamisa.