The insiders said at least 15 names, most of them members of Tsvangirai’s so-called kitchen cabinet, were presented at the party’s standing committee meeting last Wednesday.
The names will be forwarded to the national council which will be forced to rubber stamp the nominations later this week. Sources in the labour-based party said those who are trying to resist a bloated national executive are being threatened with expulsion and have been labelled rebels.
“Politically, this is a coup against the congress,” said one senior MDC-T official.
“It is also an insult on the people who decided to renew their leadership.”
The MDC-T constitution says 12 members must be elected directly at the congress in terms of clause 5.4.6 and seven party members must be co-opted to the national executive elected in terms of Clause 5.4.8.
Clause 5.4.8 of the party’s constitution says: “Further at this first meeting after Congress, the council on the recommendations of the national standing committee shall co-opt not more than seven persons from the party’s general membership who shall sit in both the executive and the council, provided that the members to be so co-opted shall be such that a one third gender status quo is achieved in the membership of the national executive.”
The sources said Tsvangirai and a few members of his kitchen cabinet felt vulnerable and exposed after the congress when most party loyalists fell by the wayside as new and power-hungry cadres took the reins.
“This prompted them to draw up this list of losers which was presented at our standing committee meeting,” said another official.
“But this is against the constitution which stipulates that the president is entitled to appoint seven members subject to approval by the national council.”
MDC-T officials said everyone would be whipped into line to endorse the decision to enlarge the national executive by co-opting those that lost at the congress that was characterised by intense factionalism.
The official said no MDC-T official would have the guts to raise the issue at the national council meeting because doing so would invite serious consequences.
He said the party was now being run the “Zanu PF way” where officials are afraid to give an opinion that is different from President Robert Mugabe’s views.
At the standing committee, Tsvangirai is said to have said that “Zanu PF is a stakeholder in the exercise; we have been seriously infiltrated by the enemy”.
His statement, said party officials, was designed to silence all those who wanted to oppose the co-option of the handpicked losers.
“No one will oppose this because that person will be seen as a rebel trying to work against the Prime Minister,” said one official. “So it’s only you in the media who can stop this from happening.”
The losers’ lists include Ministers Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, Henry Madzorera, Murisi Zvizwai and Paurina Mpariwa, as well as former deputy minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu.
Others are Lucia Matibenga, Tabitha Khumalo, Kerry Kay, Concillia Chinanzvavana, Elias Mudzuri, Eddie Cross, Edmore Marima, Cecil Zvidzai, Hilda Mafudze and Amos Chibaya.
“What angers people is that there are people like Rorina Dandajena (member of the women’s assembly) who lost by a small margin but were never included on the list because she does not see eye to eye with a senior member of the kitchen cabinet,” said a disgruntled MDC official.
“But we have others who were plucked from the wilderness.”
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora referred questions to the party’s organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa or Secretary-General Tendai Biti.
“Talk to Chamisa or Biti because those issues fall under their departments,” said Mwonzora.
Contacted for comment, Cha-misa said he would call back later.