MDC factions lock horns in Budiriro

Clemence Manyukwe

BOTH MDC factions are set to face off in the Budiriro by-election following indications that they will field rival candidates for the poll slated for May 20, in clear evidence that their split is final.

The fielding of competing candidates

by the two factions is most likely to split the opposition vote in the urban constituency and hand Zanu PF an unearned victory.

The constituency fell vacant following the death of MDC MP Gilbert Shoko last month. The nomination court for the poll will sit on April 21.

Sources said this week the anti-senate faction was likely to field former Harare mayor and recently elected national organising secretary, Elias Mudzuri, as their candidate.

It was not immediately clear who was going to stand on the pro-senate faction’s ticket.

The faction’s secretary-general Welshman Ncube yesterday confirmed that his camp would be fielding a candidate, a departure from the last election when the feuding sides refrained from competing
against each other.

The strategy saw the anti-senate faction losing the Chegutu mayoral and Chitungwiza council polls while the pro-senate camp lost ward elections in Bulawayo to Zanu PF.

Anti-senate faction spokesperson Nelson Chamisa yesterday would not commit himself on their likely candidate.

“As of now I cannot talk about who is going to stand. The candidate will emerge from the internal process. Leaders come from a combination of wards and districts in Budiriro,” said Chamisa.

Revelations of the factions squaring up in Budiriro and this week’s court case that saw the High Court ordering the anti-senate camp to return a vehicle seized from their rivals is likely to put to nought efforts by the MDC’s secretary for legal affairs David Coltart to reconcile the two sides.

The Bulawayo lawyer yesterday said: “I think now the chances of reconciliation are minimal but both sides still need to negotiate regarding the split.” The negotiations centre around party property, logos and court appeals.