Moyo sucked into MDC-T post battle

Brian Chitemba

STATE Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo has been sucked into the fierce political storm that erupted at the MDC-T Bulawayo office over plans to impose the minister as the party’s provincial chairman.

The positioning of Moyo, who was not at last Saturday’s meeting, ahead of the party congress in May is part of a wider jostling for posts by officials seeking influential offices.

MDC-T insiders said there was drama at the Bulawayo offices on Saturday afternoon as debate ensued over the plan by MPs, including Pelandaba legislator Samuel Sandla Khumalo and Bulawayo Central’s Dorcas Sibanda, to dethrone incumbent provincial chairperson Agnes Mlotshwa, and replace her with Moyo, a former civic activist.

MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo declined that there were serious party scuffles over posts.

“I was not at the meeting but I would tell you that there is no infighting in the MDC-T,” she said.

But sources who attended the weekend meeting told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that Khumalo threatened party member Dick Mohammed who led a group opposed to Moyo’s planned ascendency.

Mohammed’s group is allegedly opposed to Moyo’s imposition as the Bulawayo provincial chairman saying the minister was not even an ordinary party member. For Moyo to assume a party post, MDC-T officials say, he has to serve the party for at least two years.

Moyo was handpicked from civil society by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as Minister of State in his office at the inception of the coalition government in February 2009.

“How can Moyo be given the post just like that; we have to follow party procedure.” asked an MDC-T senior official who requested anonymity. “We won’t allow Moyo to enjoy our fruits of hard labour without serving the party for two years.”

Moyo was previously linked to the vice-presidency’s post currently occupied by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe although he denied the claims.
Contacted for comment, Moyo dismissed the story as untrue and refused to discuss the issue.

“Your story is incorrect and thus I can’t comment on information that is not true,” he said.

At the Saturday meeting, sources said, tempers flared over the involvement of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) in party politics to bolster Moyo’s image among city residents. Moyo is the patron of BPRA and is allegedly using the association to build his political empire.

“BPRA officials were instructed by party stalwarts in the city to desist from playing politics. But basically the bickering and infighting is all about party posts ahead of the May congress,” said the source.

BPRA coordinator Rodrick Fayayo denied that they were campaigning for Moyo, arguing that the association was not involved in politics.

“Our membership is drawn from all political parties and we are not campaigning for Moyo; it’s not true,” he said.

Meanwhile, the fight over posts also surfaced in Matabeleland North at the weekend where provincial executive members led by Sengezo Tshabangu were involved in a heated debate following a meeting addressed by MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo in Hwange. Lovemore Moyo is said to be on a whirlwind tour of provinces to garner support to retain his post at the May congress.