MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai is expected in Matabeleland this weekend to deal with feuds that threaten his party’s ability to defend its stronghold in the region.
Party officials from Matabeleland invited Tsvangirai after failing to solve differences among themselves, according to information gathered by the Zimbabwe Independent.
Matabeleland North provincial director of elections David Nyathi confirmed that Tsvangirai was scheduled for an urgent provincial council meeting tomorrow.
He, however, denied the special caucus was called to iron out thorny issues affecting the party.
“It’s a routine meeting. It’s more of a mobilisation meeting. It has nothing to do with problems in MDC,” said Nyathi.
But party sources from the region said the battle for control of party structures pitting MDC-T organising secretary Elias Mudzuri and his deputy Morgan Komichi had spilled over to Matabeleland.
Sources said the MDC-T was on a restructuring exercise starting from district to provincial level ahead of the party’s elective congress next year.
Sources in Matabeleland North told the Independent this week that Tsvangirai would meet members of the provincial council on Saturday to find a lasting solution to the problems bedevilling the party.
The provincial council meeting, sources said, would focus on building bridges between camps aligned to Komichi and Mudzuri in the region.
Komichi, who used to live in Hwange, but is now based at MDC-T headquarters in Harare, allegedly engineered the election of Sengezo Tshabangu as Matabeleland North chairman after ousting Charles Ncube.
MDC-T insiders said Komichi blocked Ncube from being chairman in May last year allegedly in revenge for Ncube’s role in barring the deputy organising secretary from contesting the 2008 elections as Hwange Central Member of the House of Assembly.
“The faction linked to Mudzuri has on five different occasions tried to push Tshabangu out but they failed,” one of the sources said. “Komichi is vindictive against Ncube because he accuses him of bringing Brian Tshuma to stand for Hwange Central in the 2008 March elections. Officials in Hwange are particular about the influence of locals; Nambians. They don’t want other tribes to take up influential positions.”
Matabeleland North treasurer Richard Lowe and information secretary Marguirite Varlley, who are said to be behind the party’s fundraising in the province, are aligned to Mudzuri, according to the sources.
The sources said Tsvangirai was invited to deal with the problems in Matabeleland North to allow for a smooth restructuring exercise.
The MDC-T leader, the sources said, was also expected to visit Midlands South and Matabeleland South in an effort to fight factionalism that has rocked the party.
“The party national chairman Lovemore Moyo came to Matabeleland North in April, but failed to solve the dispute. Our hope is in Tsvangirai to bring sanity in party structures,” said another source.
Komichi denied that there was bad blood between him and Mudzuri.
“I am not aware of that. In fact it’s not true,” he said this week.
Mudzuri also dismissed the reports, saying he was focusing more on building the party than entertaining conflicts.
The former Energy minister said: “That’s not true. My purpose is to build the party and we are not intending to have certain provincial chairpersons or any official to be fired from the party.
“I would not call what we intend to do as restructuring, but its confirmation of structures. We will be auditing the structures and make sure party members are active,” he said.
Asked about the Saturday meeting on Wednesday, party’s spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said he was not at liberty to discuss “internal issues”.