GWERU – Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has expelled Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and his deputy Artwell Matyorauta as the party continues to crack the whip on councillors who defied party orders during the mayoral elections.
The executive which convened an emergency extra-ordinary meeting on Saturday ordered the recalling of Kombayi and Matyorauta as well as eight other councillors.
MDC had initially handpicked trade unionist, Charles Chikozho and Kenneth Sithole for the soon-to-be-vacant mayoral posts.
MDC chairperson for Midlands South, Lilian Timveos confirmed the developments to the Daily News.
“It is so unfortunate that those who could not comply with the president’s directive will have to face the consequence.
“Kombayi has been relieved of his duties as a member of the party; his dismissal is based on his actions lately.” Timveos said.
Kombayi, who is son to the late Patrick Kombayi, a prominent businessman and Gweru’s first black mayor, bagged 12 votes against the party’s preferred candidate Chikozho who only polled six votes.
An internal investigation revealed that Kombayi had behaved unprofessionally during the voting process.
MDC secretary for information and publicity for Midlands, James Wonder Tsuro also confirmed the developments in a statement.
“Our recommendation as the provincial executive for Midlands was to expel the following people; Hamutendi Kombayi, Artwell Matyorauta, Moses Marecha, Nokuthula Mbano, Tawanda Mahidi, Ernest Guduza, Farai Jonathan Muza, Albert Chirau, William Ndaguta and Bornface Magara.
“The reason being that, they fooled president Tsvangirai. They had the rare chance of meeting president Tsvangirai but could not deliberate their problems to him,” Tsuro said.
Matyorauta dismissed the action saying there was need for the party to respect the will of people and uphold democracy.
Meanwhile, former minister of Water Resources Samuel Sipepa- Nkomo has also called on the party leadership to take serious disciplinary action on MDC councillors in Bulawayo.
Sipepa-Nkomo a senior member of the party made this call after some MDC councillors defied party directives and voted for their own mayoral candidates ignoring those picked by the party.
The councillors also defied the party’s decision to elect councillor Ernest Rafamoyo of Ward 20 as the deputy mayor and instead elected soccer administrator Gift Banda of Ward 5 while Martin Moyo was elected unopposed as the new mayor.
“This party cannot afford indiscipline anymore. People have to follow rules and regulations of the party; the party cannot lose votes because of indiscipline.
“For example in Bulawayo, a party decision was made at party offices to elect mayor and deputy mayor but when they got to council chambers they ignored the party decisions and elected someone who is far away from the party structures as the deputy mayor,” Sipepa-Nkomo told journalists at Bulawayo press club on Friday.
The Lobengula legislator added that; “In Victoria Falls, Mutare and Kwekwe they also voted for Zanu PF mayors.
“That cannot be accepted. Action should be taken; we can’t allow such indiscipline to continue.”
These developments come at a time when there are fears that the party which enjoyed popular support over the past decade is on the brink of another split following their poor performance in the July 31 harmonised elections.
Two weeks ago Roy Bennet, a founding member of the MDC reportedly called for Tsvangirai’s resignation but Sipepa-Nkomo said the party had not received any official communication from the MDC treasurer-general.
“We only heard from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and newspapers that Bennet wants the president out; we haven’t received any official communication from him,” he said.
Bennett, who is in self-imposed exile, told the Business Day of South Africa that Tsvangirai should resign as his continued stay in power no longer reflected the will of the people.