Tsvangirai seemed to have closed ranks with his secretary general Tendai Biti to fight a faction allegedly led by national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri.
Voting was still underway at the time of going to press but Tsvangirai and Biti’s supporters had already swept the strategic posts in women and youth assemblies in earlier polls.
Theresa Makone, whose family had been one of Tsvangirai’s major pillars of support, shrugged spirited challenge from Editor Matamisa to retain her post as the chairperson of the women’s assembly on Friday.
Solomon Madzore succeeded Thamsanqa Mahlangu as the new youth chairperson. Madzore is said to be close to Biti.
After the congress was officially opened by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga the previous day, early Saturday saw all the candidates engaging in frenetic campaigns outside the venue.
But indications were that Thokozani Khupe who was slugging it out with Norman Mabena and Thabitha Khumalo for the vice-presidency and secretary general Tendai Biti pitted against Eliphas Mukonoweshuro were set to retain their posts.
However, there were also indications that Mukonoweshuro would not go down without a fight.
Tsvangirai was also said to have favoured Lovemore Moyo (chairman), Nelson Chamisa (organising secretary), Tongai Matutu (spokesman), Abedinico Bhebhe (deputy organising secretary), Roy Bennett (treasurer) and Elton Mangoma (deputy treasurer). Bennett and Tsvangirai were elected unopposed.
Matutu was however facing a real fight from Douglas Mwonzora, who also has a lot of support despite not being nominated by his province.
There were small incidents that marred the voting process with Matabeleland North province initially refusing to take part in the voting process after the names of some of their delegates were missing on the voters roll.
The names of the ward chairpersons were later added allowing the voting process to go ahead.
Nominations for Bulawayo province were also not publicly announced following confusion, which started well before the congress.
The post of organising secretary had also been left out of the ballot paper sparking complaints from the contestants.
Tsvangirai was the first to cast his vote just before lunch but the process dragged on until late in the night. Results were only expected around midnight. The congress was also set to come up with resolutions.
The PM, who is facing President Robert Mugabe in elections expected next year, had gone to the congress seeking to strengthen his party’s leadership in the face of emerging factionalism.
MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the congress went well and showed that there was internal democracy within the party.
“There was excellence in the campaigns, people were free and the campaigns were done peacefully,” he said.
“This shows that there is rich internal democracy and team spirit. Delegates were allowed to vote freely and our emphasis of the secrecy of the ballot shows that we are world class.” he said.
Tsvangirai declared at the congress that the MDC-T will win the next elections and form a government alone.
There was a small incident where Tsvangirai was briefly locked out of the stadium by security details claiming that they had not been paid for their services.