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MDC to hold congress this year after all

The troubled Movement for Democratic Change is likely to hold its congress, at which a new leadership will be elected, this year instead of in 2016, party president Morgan Tsvangirai said today. It is not clear whether this is a change of heart following pressure on him to step down or it was agreed by the party but Tsvangirai told an international news agency today: “Those wanting leadership change can do so at the party’s congress later this year, through the proper channels.” The faction calling for leadership renewal has been calling for an early congress to elect a new leadership but Tsvangirai has been resisting the move. Party spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, who is in Tsvangirai’s camp, hinted last month that the congress could be held in December if the party raises the funds to do so. If not, the congress would be held in March, which is still a year ahead of schedule. A faction led by secretary-general Tendai Biti suspended the party leadership on Saturday, but this has since been declared null and void. The party now seems headed for an imminent split which might render the congress useless. When the party split in 2005, the two factions held separate congresses with the Welshman Ncube faction bringing in a rank outsider, Arthur Mutambara to lead the party. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is also scheduled to hold its congress this year and could elect a new leadership to take over from President Robert Mugabe.

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