Mabvuku-Tafara MDC MP James Maridadi, is tipped to become the opposition party’s spokesperson, replacing Obert Gutu, who was expelled from the party early this year. Party insiders said Nelson Chamisa was likely to select Maridadi after the acting spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo reportedly asked to be excused.
Maridadi was floored by youth assembly member James Chidhakwa in the opposition party’s primary elections for the Mabvuku-Tafara constituency, and had proceeded to file his nomination papers on an MDC ticket in the same constituency.
He has since withdrawn his nomination papers, amid reports Chamisa has promised to give the former State radio journalist the powerful post.
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda told the Daily News his boss is still looking for the rightful candidate for the spokesperson post.
“The president doesn’t take orders from anyone. He needs to do what he thinks is the best,” Sibanda said.
Efforts to get comment from Maridadi were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Maridadi at one time served as the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson and later as chief of protocol in the country’s inclusive government between 2009 and 2013.
He is widely respected for his robust contributions in Parliament, where he pushed for media reforms and the impeachment of former president Robert Mugabe, among other things.
Chamisa is also expected to make key appointments for the vice president to replace Thokozani Khupe, national chairperson and organising secretary in an effort to stabilise the opposition party.
Khupe, who was elected at the opposition’s 2014 congress, was fired along with organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe and spokesperson Gutu.
National chairperson Lovemore Moyo also resigned from the party recently, accusing the leadership of losing direction and deviating from the party’s founding principles.
So far, Khumalo, the party’s Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Felix Magalela Sibanda and Chamisa’s close associate Bekithemba Mpofu, have emerged as front-runners for the deputy president’s post.
This also comes as there is reportedly intense jockeying behind the scenes among alliance leaders who signed a Political Cooperation Agreement (PCA) that gave birth to the MDC Alliance on August 5, 2017, for the positions of deputy president in the MDC Alliance — an electoral bloc formed between seven political parties, most of which are splinters from the original MDC, founded in 1999.