SERIOUS divisions have reportedly rocked the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC over the backing of Morgan Tsvangirai in the June 27 presidential election run-off against President Robert Mugabe, with the campâ€™s winning legislators threatening to break away from the party.
Sources in the Mutambara faction told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the recently elected legislators were not happy that the faction last Friday fielded parliamentary by-election candidates in Gwanda South, Redcliff and Pelandaba-Mpopoma against those of the MDC-Tsvangirai group.
The sources said the lawmakers accused the factionâ€™s leadership of going against a recent parliamentary pact between the two factions by nominating separate candidates.
The MDC Mutambara faction fielded candidates who will contest against Zanu-PF and the MDC-T faction.
The MPs and senators reportedly threatened to use their personal resources to campaign for Tsvangirai and accused the Mutambara leadership of attempting to derail the former trade unionistâ€™s bid for the presidency.
“There are a few senior individuals in the party who are pushing a Zanu-PF agenda and it is now clear who those are,” one of the legislators said. “They are doing everything in their powers to destroy Tsvangirai. It is not our fault that they have differences with him, but we just want Mugabe out of power.”
The legislators said it emerged this week that there were members of the Mutambara executive who were against the partyâ€™s resolution to support and campaign for Tsvangirai against Mugabe in the run-off.
The MPs alleged that the party leaders in Matabeleland were bitter after losing the March 29 parliamentary election to the MDC-Tsvangirai candidates.
“There are some former legislators who are still bitter and just last weekend one of them (name supplied) addressed a provincial assembly meeting and said he will cause by-elections to take place in areas where the MPs and senators are campaigning for Tsvangirai,” another lawmaker said. “We are saying we do not care if he calls for the by-elections. We will campaign for Tsvangirai against Mugabe.”
The legislators were also not happy after the party leadership reportedly cancelled a trip to South Africa by the lawmakers to meet victims of xenophobic attacks.
The leadership is alleged to have blocked the trip after alleging that the legislators were going to South Africa to meet Tsvangirai who was then still in that country.
Last Friday, the legislators boycotted a party meeting and instead 11 of the lawmakers travelled to Harare where Tsvangirai was presenting a “state of the nation” address.
“There are two or three officials at the top who have not come to grips that Tsvangirai is more popular than us (Mutambara camp) countrywide and they are fighting to bring him down,” a senator said. “We will continue to back him as long as he fights Mugabe.”
Efforts to contact the partyâ€™s secretary-general Welshman Ncube on the matter proved fruitless as he was not reachable.
The partyâ€™s deputy spokesperson Abednico Bhebhe said he had no comment on the issues raised.
“I have no comment to make on all those issues,” Bhebhe said curtly.
By Loughty Dube