HARARE – A faction of the main MDC opposed to a coalition deal inked by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in August last year, is going against the spirit binding the MDC Alliance by getting its members to contest the forthcoming polls in constituencies reserved for other parties signatory to the agreement.
The MDC faction — linked to vice president Thokozani Khupe — has prepared a list of parliamentary candidates to contest in constituencies in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South.
Some of the aspiring candidates interviewed by the Daily News said they were now waiting for the right time before they could roll out their election campaigns.
In terms of the MDC Alliance agreement, Tsvangirai’s party is not supposed to deploy candidates to contest seats reserved for other members of the coalition.
Khupe who could not be reached for comment yesterday, has made her position clear that there was no need for a coalition in the Matabeleland since the region was already a stronghold for the MDC.
From the list seen by the Daily News, Khupe will fight it out with Tshinga Dube (Zanu PF) in Makokoba constituency, while the MDC’s national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe will seek to retain his Nkayi North seat.
Interestingly, the list exclude sitting members of Parliament who are backing Tsvangirai’s efforts to contest the forthcoming polls under the MDC Alliance banner.
These include Dingilizwe Tshuma (Emakhandeni), Prince Dubeko Sibanda (Binga North) Dorcas Sibanda (Bulawayo Central) and Tabitha Khumalo (Bulawayo East).
Also excluded from the list is Bulawayo provincial chair Gift Banda.
Khumalo told the Daily News that she was disappointed that certain individuals in her party were fighting personal wars yet it was time for all like-minded individuals and political parties to come together and end Zanu PF’s 37 year rule.
“I am aware of such but what is surprising is that in 2014 we had a congress which endorsed the issue of a big tent, convergence and an alliance and for some reasons why don’t those people not prepared to take heed,” she said.
“The constitution should be the order of the party. Why violate the same constitution, which governs us? This is no longer about us as individuals but about the long-sufferings people of Zimbabwe”.
Khumalo encouraged dissenting voices in the MDC to learn from history.
“We broke ourselves into many pieces as a party and today what have we achieved? Totally nothing. So what is so wrong in us coming together to finish Zanu PF once and for all?” she asked.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube confirmed seeing the list.
“The decisions which were made by the alliance are that each party will contest in the constituency allocated to them. I am aware that the MDC-T had a standing committee yesterday (Wednesday) and they reiterated that position. I am not a spokesperson of the MDC-T but as alliance partners we get such updates,” Ncube said.
“As far as we are concerned, the MDC-T remains with 114 seats that we allocated to them and in my view one who goes outside that is not only acting against the party’s position but also that of the alliance,” he said.
Ncube described those behind the list as merely grandstanding in a bid to derail a collective effort by the alliance.
Bulawayo MDC provincial spokesperson Felix Mafa was professed ignorance about the list.
He said: “I am not aware of such things, I will have to find out but we have to be careful on such things because there is a lot of media speculation which are not authentic therefore we can’t comment on that”.
There was also confusion in Harare East after MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu tweeted that he wanted to have a go at the seat which the MDC Alliance has reserved for People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Tendai Biti.
MDC acting president Elias Mudzuri downplayed the Gutu issue saying he had spoken to him over the matter and his response was that he was not aware that such was the case.
“I have spoken to Gutu over the matter but he has explained to me that he only tweeted saying he had prepared to contests there because he was not aware that the seat had been reserved for an alliance partner.
“Politicians can express their feelings but when in an organisation, we can always sit and talk to say this we can do that we cannot”.
About the internal contradictions in the party, Mudzuri said the coalition was in an “excellent” state of health.
“I have not heard about that list and when it finally comes to my attention I will deal with it. The health of the coalition is excellent,” Mudzuri said.
According to the seats distribution arrangement adopted by the MDC Alliance, the MDC led by Tsvangirai would get 114 out of the 210 seats to be contested.
PDP, led by Biti will get 14 seats while Ncube’s party will get 32 seats.
The Zimbabwe People First, under Agrippa Mutambara, has been allocated 30 seats with Transform Zimbabwe party led by Jacob Ngarivhume’s contesting in 19 seats.
The little known Multi-Racial Christian Democrats will contest for one seat.