Jostling for parly seats intensifies

JOSTLING for parliamentary seats for the next elections is intensifying throughout the provinces amid revelations that some MDC-T bigwigs are likely to lose to relatively newcomers.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Although the jostling is countrywide, the main focus is on the party’s Bulawayo province where there are looming massive changes likely to spell the end of the road for some of its stalwarts, including Dorcas Sibanda (Bulawayo Central), Felix Magalela Sibanda (Magwegwe) and Thabitha Khumalo (Bulawayo East).

MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe is not contesting parliamentary elections this year as her party has resolved that as a “national leader she should be campaigning at a national level for the overall success of the party”.

Provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo has been lined up to contest Khupe’s current seat.

“It’s not that Khupe is running away from Makokoba due to past troubles in the area,” said a source. “It has been resolved that contesting in elections undermines her stature as national leader.”

New faces expected to be unveiled include academic Mandla Nyathi (Bulawayo East), lawyer Kucaca Phulu, clergyman Useni Sibanda and a son of the late Zanu PF Makokoba MP Sidney Malunga identified as Anele (Magwegwe).

Sibanda confirmed being approached by MDC-T, but said he is yet to make a decision. Phulu is earmarked to take over from Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo, who sources said, has been undone by his lack of academic qualifications.

Masvingo province has also been rocked by controversy following claims by aspiring candidates, including mayor Femias Chakabuda, aspiring mayor David Charirwe and deputy mayor Selina Maridza, who say that their CVs had been tempered with to undermine their prospects.

Provincial secretary Tongai Matutu acknowledged receiving the complaints but said there are no problems in Masvingo and in any contest “some people will fall by the wayside due to the emergence of somebody more popular”.

“There was that complaint but we opened all the applications in the presence of 38 provincial members and studied them in an open transparent manner. The complaint is without merit,” said Matutu.

Although those rumoured to be facing the chop have remained mum, the MDC-T is desperate to avoid acrimonious battles that would divide the party’s potential votes. The disturbances have occasionally degenerated into physical fights, especially in the run-up to the party congress held in the city in 2011.

Factions aligned to Makokoba senator Matson Hlalo and Moyo reportedly fought pitched battles prompting party leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to appoint the Trust Mhanda-led Commission to investigate the issue. The commission’s findings have been canned.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director Macdonald Lewanika said the MDC-T should realise that those who got them here might not be enough to take them to the next level, so reinvention and reinforcement is not a bad thing.