CONTROVERSY over the nomination of Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga to the National Assembly could split the MDC led by Welshman Ncube if Ncube ignores demands from senior party members to recall her.
Highly-placed sources in the party told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that senior officials, including party deputy president Edwin Mushoriwa, former Healing and Reconciliation co-minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, former Copac co-chairperson Edward Mkhosi, suspended Matabeleland South chairperson Petros Mukwena and deputy spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi, are particularly galled by the fact that Misihairabwi-Mushonga was placed on the Matabeleland South proportional representation list even though she is not from the province, and want her recalled from parliament.
“Senior party officials are even contemplating leaving the party en masse if Ncube does not deal with the Misihairabwi-Mushonga issue,” said a party official.
“The national and Matabeleland South provincial executives were not consulted over her nomination.”
As secretary-general Misihairabwi-Mushonga stands accused of failing to handle the election campaign, centralising the party around herself and failing to raise funds to keep the party afloat.
The MDC performed dismally in the July 31 general polls, only securing four seats, two in the senate and two National Assembly seats for the women’s quota under the new proportional representation system.
The seats are in Bulawayo and Matabeleland South.
In the 2008 polls the party fared much better as it won 10 House of Assembly and six senatorial seats.
“It seems Ncube is always shielding her from criticism and ignores complaints against her,” said a party official who said Mukwena is being victimised for daring to speak out.
Mukwena is currently on suspension for insulting Misihairabwi-Mushonga while Mzila-Ndlovu, Mkhosi and Siyabonga Malandu are said to have engaged Ncube in a fruitless meeting to resolve the matter.
Party spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube denied there are rifts in the MDC saying “the party had said all it had to say over the matter but the media seems intent on keeping the issue alive”.
Chihwayi concurred with Dube adding that those who say Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s nomination violated party rules “must provide evidence”.
“If the secretary-general (Misihairabwi-Mushonga) was not chosen through proper channels and evidence is provided then the MDC will not protect her,” said Chihwayi.
“The issue will be discussed internally and amicably solved. We have working structures to handle internal grievances.”