HARARE – MDC Alliance has been thrown into a fresh crisis after opposition political heavyweights Obert Gutu and Tendai Biti are set to collide after both declared interest in contesting the Harare East parliamentary seat.
Gutu, who is spokesperson for the MDC, is eyeing Harare East constituency that has, however, been reserved for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Tendai Biti.
The former deputy minister of Justice recently wrote on social media that he is ready to serve Harare East—something that would put him at odds with his principals as well as set the stage for a battle with Biti who was once the MP for the area and is the likely candidate to be fielded by the MDC Alliance.
Contacted for comment over the incursion that Gutu has made, Biti yesterday referred questions to MDC Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube.
“All alliance matters should be directed to the spokesperson of the Alliance,” Biti said.
With the Alliance plodding on notwithstanding dog-eat-dog fights that have been triggered by Tsvangirai’s ill health, Ncube said the MDC should take appropriate action against Gutu.
Ncube told the Daily News yesterday that as things stand any party that infringes on the Political Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which is the foundation of the MDC Alliance, should discipline the errant members.
“The position is that each Alliance partner that was given a seat is now allowed to proceed and Harare East was reserved for PDP. Through the negotiating proceedings the parties agreed that they will not contest each other.
“And if anyone from an alliance partner disregards that then they will be acting in bad faith and it will mean that whichever party that person comes from will have to take disciplinary action against that person,” said Ncube.
With the MDC now set to take action against him, Gutu was shifting goalposts yesterday saying for now he would stand guided by the party’s leadership, even though he interacts well with structures in Harare East.
“I have stayed in Ballantyne Park which is in Harare East constituency for more than 17 years. I have always worked with the party structures in my neighbourhood simply because I am a committed and true democrat.
“I practice law for a living and without sounding boastful I don’t think I have performed badly as a lawyer.
“Politics is my vocation and definitely not my profession. I will stand guided by the party leadership on where exactly they would want to deploy me,” said Gutu.
The PCA which was signed by Tsvangirai’s party, along with seven other fringe political movements on August 5 last year set aside seats for all the seven parties in the coalition without specifying the method to be used in selecting the candidates.
According to the agreement “the party which is strongest electorally in a given constituency must field the candidate for the coalition”.
While the PCA has provisions to “accommodate any additional alliance”, it goes on to give Tsvangirai the carte blanche to select the other coalition partners.