A BID by former MDC Alliance leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s top ally Norest Marara to contest for the party’s presidency is reportedly set to be rejected at the party’s standing committee meeting on Wednesday.
Marara, who facilitated the purchase of two of Tsvangirai’s vehicles in 2011 and was arrested on charges of smuggling them through Beitbridge Border Post, is the first to openly challenge Douglas Mwonzora ahead of the congress.
He is currently the secretary for special projects and party business in the national executive of the MDC Alliance as well as head of finance and administration.
Insiders say Mwonzora fears losing to Marara.
Mwonzora has been loath to announce congress dates since the start of the year in what political analysts say betrays his fear of losing.
Sources in Mwonzora’s camp highlighted to NewsDay yesterday that there will be an attempt to block Marara’s candidature on Wednesday at a meeting of the party’s the standing committee.
“The party failed to suspend Marara, but it is now looking forward to barring him from contesting for the presidency. Our president, Mwonzora fears defeat by the popular Marara. Marara is popular with the structures,” the sources said.
In a statement, the party’s Harare provincial spokesperson Collen Chavengwa said Marara did not qualify to contest for the MDC Alliance presidency.
“This statement saves to inform MDC Alliance structures that the above-mentioned person, Marara, does not qualify to contest for MDC presidency. He has never served in any capacity in any of the 24 districts in Harare,” Chavengwa said.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Marara said he had served the party for more than five years.
“I am also the founding member of the party and, therefore, I meet the constitutionally-required criteria. I have served the party for more than five years,” Marara said.
In the March 26 by-elections, Marara was MDC Alliance’s candidate for Harare Central and lost to Murisi Zvizwai of the Nelson Chamisa-led Citizens Coalitions for Change.
Others reportedly vying for the same post are the party’s national chairperson Morgen Komichi and vice-president Elias Mudzuri.
Efforts to get a comment from MDC Alliance spokesperson Witness Dube were futile as he was not answering his mobile phone.