Ncube’s ascendency had been widely expected following a flurry of nominations and former party leader, Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara’s decision to pull out of the race.
Addressing delegates Mutambara said the party deserved more credit than it was getting as it was virtually the one that had held the inclusive government together when it was faced with collapse.
Despite losing his presidency, Mutambara said he would work harder than anyone to hold the party together.
“Even without a position, I will be a soldier in the party,” he said.
“We must work hard to maintain this very important party.”
Mutambara, who sat next to Ncube throughout the first day of the two day congress, acknowledged receiving a petition from some party members, saying their concerns must be addressed and must not be allowed to divide the party.
The petition was drawn up by party members led by outgoing national chairman, Joubert Mudzumwe.
Mudzumwe led an ill-fated rebellion that called for Mutambara to remain as party president, while deputy speaker of parliament, Nomalanga Khumalo was to be the deputy.
Khumalo did not attend the congress, which was reportedly attended by 4 250 delegates, with some party members claiming that she was on the verge of defecting to the formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mudzumwe had banked on Mutambara not attending congress and in the process lend credence to his claims that the congress was unconstitutional and illegitimate.
In his speech Mutambara praised his party for being the only one in Zimbabwe to have a transparent change of leadership.
“Before the national council met (last December), I said I was not standing for any position because I believe in leadership renewal and it is good for our party democracy,” he said to a standing ovation.
As The Standard reported last July, the congress adopted a raft of constitutional changes, mainly the setting up of a Council of Elders and changing of the party’s colours to green.
However, a call to change the party’s name to Movement for Democratic Change Congress was shot down by delegates at the congress.
Party spokesman, Edwin Mushoriwa was elected deputy president, after Frank Chamunorwa pulled out of the contest.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga stepped into the secretary-generals post, while Moses Mzila Ndlovu will be her deputy.
There were no surprises in the elections, with Paul Themba Nyathi ascending to the treasurer general’s position while Theresa Marimazhira became his deputy.
Goodrich Chimbaira will take over Mudzumwe’s position as national chairman.
Frank Chamunorwa, who declined nomination for the chairmanship was eventually voted in as the deputy chairman.
Miriam Mushayi was deployed as the director of planning, strategy and implementation, a newly created position.
Elections for the youth and women’s assemblies were still to be held at the time of going to print.
The party’s newly elected national council is expected to meet after the end of the congress today.
Sources revealed that Mutambara was likely to be appointed to one of the non-electable positions when the council meets.
“That was a great and unifying speech that Mutambara gave and we certainly still need him in the party,” a source said.
As reported last week, David Coltart is expected to be chosen as the secretary for legal affairs when the national council meets.