MDC's Tendai Biti with party leader Nelson Chamisa outside court. Biti and Chamisa were elected to top positions at the the party's leadership congress. File photo: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters.

HARARE ‑ Zimbabwe's MDC party saw former rebels being rewarded by getting elected into top positions, while loyalists were booted out, when the opposition movement elected new leadership over the weekend.

Tendai Biti, who was recalled from parliament and expelled from the MDC in 2014 after he suspended party founder and leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was elected vice-president at the leadership congress, held in Gweru.

Also elected as vice-president was Welshman Ncube, who led an MDC splinter party in 2005 after clashing with Tsvangirai over participation in the senatorial elections.

Both Biti and Ncube are former secretary-generals of the party.

When Biti was shown the door in 2014, he went off with almost all the party assets and left the MDC bank accounts in the red.

Also elected into the main wing was Job Sikhala, who got the vice-chairperson post, where he staved off a stiff challenge from former youth leader Happymore Chidziva.

In May 2010, Sikhala formed his own party, MDC-99, but disbanded it four years later and returned to the MDC. 

Biti was fighting off challenges from Ncube, Morgen Komichi and Elias Mudzuri for the two VP slots for male VPs, while Lynette Karenyi-Kore beat Lillian Timveous and Tracy Mutinhiri, a former ruling Zanu PF party legislator, for the single slot for a female vice-president.

Komichi and Mudzuri ‑ both party loyalists ‑ had gone into the election as vice-presidents of the party, with Mudzuri having been appointed alongside Chamisa in 2016 by Tsvangirai, while Komichi was roped into the presidium by Chamisa after Tsvangirai’s death.

Komichi has been arrested twice for violating the Electoral Act.

In 2013, he got himself into trouble when he presented a ballot paper to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, claiming he had picked it up in garbage cans.

Last year, he was arrested for allegedly disrupting the announcement of presidential election results when he went live on TV claiming the results were fake.

Chamisa was uncontested after Mudzuri and outgoing secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora developed cold feet towards the primary elections ahead of the congress.

Tabitha Khumalo also retained her post as national chairperson, after seeing off competition from Bekithemba Mpofu.

Mwonzora lost his secretary-general seat to Charlton Hwende, a seat also contested by Daniel Molokeli.

Former Bulawayo South legislator David Coltart pummelled Tapiwa Mashakada in the race for treasurer-general.

African News Agency (ANA)