Unconfirmed reports said the party initially intended to hire a train from National Railways of Zimbabwe to carry delegates from Bulawayo.
Fireworks are expected at the congress in which secretary-general Welshman Ncube is tipped to take over the party leadership. This followed an announcement by its leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara that he would not seek re-election.
Party sources in Bulawayo said the congress will most likely lead to a disintegration of the party and a mass exodus of supporters and disgruntled Members of parliament, four of whom are reported to be moving to the MDC-T while one senator is headed for ZAPU.
Mutambara has been sailing through troubled waters over the past 18 months in which he made controversial and unpopular statements forcing the party,s information department to work overtime doing damage control. In one of his statements, Mutambara praised Mugabe as one of the greatest African leaders and liberators-forgetting that Mugabe is seen as a monster in MDC- M stronghold of Matabeleland.
The congress is being held under the theme “Celebrating Our Diversity”. Insiders have said that Mutambara, who is accused rightly or wrongly of siding with Mugabe in the shaky government of national unity, would be recalled from government after the party’s provinces unanimously nominated his secretary-general Ncube for the post of president.
“The Congress will take stock of the party’s performance over the past five years, ratify any amendments to the party’s constitution, and discuss the party’s programmes, the major highlight being the election of a national executive in particular, the election of a president and a secretary-general.
Congress is expected to come up with resolutions on the Inclusive government, party positions on elections and key economic reforms,” read part of the MDC-M statement.
It added that currently, the party was holding provincial nominations across the country.
“Thus far there has been consensus in the nine provinces on Welshman Ncube as president. Eight of the Provinces have also reached consensus on Priscila Misihairabwi, Goodwill Chimbaira and Paul Temba Nyathi who have been nominated as secretary-general, national chairman and national Treasurer respectively. Party nominations will continue in the three remaining provinces.”
The statement added that nominations close on the third of January, the final elections will take place at Congress on the 8th of January 2011.
The Party’s last congress was held in February 2006. The MDC- M constitution has a set two-term limits for the seven top positions which are the presidency, vice-president, secretary-general, deputy secretary- general, treasurer-general, deputy treasurer-general and national chairman.
It said Ncube and Dulini Ncube were therefore not legible to continue in their current posts as secretary-general and treasurer- general respectively.The post of vice-president was left vacant after the death of Gibson Sibanda in August 2010.
MDC-M has four Cabinet Ministers and two Deputy Ministers in theInclusive Government.
The party’s current president Mutambara is one of two Deputy-Prime Ministers in the inclusive government.
The party has six seats in the Senate and holds 10 Parliamentary seats. It has divided the country into twelve provinces with Chitungwiza and Midlands North and South designated provinces.