MPs ditch Ncube-led MDC
HARARE – As the election season heats up, MPs have all but withdrawn from Harare to keep permanent base in their constituencies in a bid to ward off competition.
Some MPs last visited their constituencies’ five years ago. But, thanks to the election season, they seem to have found their “connection” to the grassroots.
Many are facing stiff competition from newcomers, hence the rush by sitting MPs to appease potential voters.
Zanu PF and MDC, the leading political parties in the country, are in the process of selecting candidates for the crunch polls although the Zanu PF party is yet to kick-start the process owing to deep-rooted factionalism.
The parliamentary highlight is perhaps the decision by some MPs from Matabeleland Region, who entered the Seventh Parliament on an MDC ticket under Welshman Ncube to cross the floor and join the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The “rebel” MPs who initially dumped Ncube for Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara recently submitted their credentials seeking to represent the Tsvangirai-led MDC.
Following the defection from Ncube the MPs managed to continue their tenure in the Seventh Parliament after Mutambara wrote letters to the Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo and senate president Ednah Madzongwe, advising them to disregard attempts by Ncube-led MDC to have legislators fired from Parliament for allegedly crossing the floor claiming that they belonged to his faction.
Nomalanga Khumalo the deputy Speaker of Parliament (Umzingwane), Dalimazi Khumalo (Lupane) Kembo Dube (Umzingwane) Maxwell Dube (Tsholotsho South.), Thandeko Mkandla MP for (Gwanda North) all ditched the crisis-torn smaller MDC formation to join forces with the mainstream MDC.
Mkandla and Dube told the Daily News that they joined the Tsvangirai-led MDC since it has a realistic chance of ending Mugabe’s rule joining three more MPs who defected from Ncube in 2010.
Abdenico Bhebhe (Nkayi South) Njabuliso Mguni (Bulilima East) and Norman Mpofu (Lupane East), whose applications to stand in the primary elections in Tsvangirai’s MDC have also been accepted, were the first MPs to come out in the open ditching Ncube and Mutambara — and were subsequently expelled from Parliament.
Reasons for defection.
Dube justified his crossover saying he was obeying the wishes of people in his constituency, who wanted to vote for a united MDC under the leadership of Tsvangirai.
“People in my constituency wanted me to re-join the main MDC. I did that by submitting my CV to represent the constituency. We need a formidable force to win the coming elections so I had no option but to follow their dictates,” said Dube.
He also said Ncube was difficult to work with and did not trust them as legislators.
“We had been having difficulties in working with Ncube and this is why we decided to re-join our colleagues in the MDC T,” said Dube.
Mkandla also shares Dube sentiments.
Ncube’s faction response
MDC Chief Whip Edward Mkhosi dismissed the MPs as rebels who have been dismissed by the party leadership.
“These MPs were no longer working with us in Parliament as we have dismissed them from our party. They were not adding any value to us and they were working with Tsvangirai. We are not going to miss them,” said Mkhosi.
Mkhosi said other MPs namely Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, (Bulilima West) Siyabonga Ncube (Insiza) Patrick Dube (Gwanda Central) and senators, Believe Gaule (Tsholotsho) David Coltart (Khumalo) and Lutho Addington Tapela (Bulilima-Magwe) were still part of Ncube’s political party.
Kurauone Chihwayi deputy spokesperson for Ncube’s MDC faction said they are not bothered by the departure of these rebel legislators.
“We are united and not going to mourn these MPs who are rebels and political ‘prostitutes’ that have joined the MDC. Ncube will not hesitate to punish anyone found politically prostituting and working as a rebel against his party, “said Chihwayi.
Meanwhile, this week parliamentary portfolio committee on Natural Resources and Environment held a two-day workshop for legislators to familiarise themselves with climate and environmental issues.
Dube, who is the chairperson of the committee, told delegates at the workshop that it is important for the local community to understand climate matters as weather patterns are rapidly changing.