MP threatens MDC-T split

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MAGWEGWE legislator Felix Magalela Sibanda has threatened to form a breakaway faction of the MDC-T called Real MDC, as a fallout over the weekend’s primary elections deepens.

SILAS NKALA

Initial reports indicated that Sibanda had won the right to represent the MDC-T in the forthcoming elections, but it seems the legislator lost out to Anele Ndebele.

A seething Sibanda has accused his colleagues in the
MDC-T of ethnic and narrow politics, threatening to spill the beans on the party’s activities.

In a somewhat bizarre tirade, Sibanda said he was now the Joshua Nkomo of the MDC-T and his loss was part of a plot to rid the party of its founding members and replace them with civil society members.

“I am now the Joshua for MDC-T,” he charged.

“They are here campaigning against vice-president Thokozani Khupe, chairman Lovemore Moyo, organiser Nelson Chamisa and secretary-general Tendai Biti.

“This is a prelude to more things I will spill if the national leadership does not act on these issues. I might lead a new party called the Real MDC.

“I am giving them two weeks to act, as I wrote to them long back to deal with the issue and they did not.”

Sibanda claimed he received 183 votes, while his closest contender, Ndebele, garnered 176 votes.

“Though the results came out that I won, they are now manipulating them in favour of Ndebele,” he said. “If that happens I swear I will spill more beans, as there are a lot of moves to get rid of non-Ndebele people by the faction led by (provincial) chairman Gorden Moyo.”

Sibanda said he had since notified the party leadership over the election problem in Magwegwe.

But MDC-T provincial organising secretary Albert Mhlanga yesterday dismissed Sibanda’s claims saying he was beaten by Ndebele by three votes.

He said there were seven spoilt papers during the vote counting and Sibanda claimed that those spoilt votes were his.

“He is giving you wrong information,” Mhlanga said. “What I know is that he was beaten by Ndebele by three votes and we already know that Ndebele will stand for Magwegwe in the next elections.”

He said if Sibanda had any grievances, he should channel them to him rather than the media.

Mhlanga, however, could not provide a breakdown of votes each candidate received.

But Sibanda would not be perturbed and launched another broadside at the party, insisting that most of the provincial leaders were not even members of the party.

“Ndebele, whom they want to rig on his behalf, Useni Sibanda who is contesting in Entumbane-Emakhandeni and Masuku Phelela, who won the Nketa contest, are all from civic society and were not members of the party,” he said.

Sibanda said the civil society faction had initially rooted for prominent lawyer Kucaca Phulu for the mayor’s post, but were now dumping him for Peter Khumalo.

The Magwegwe legislator said civil society leaders had also pushed for Reason Ngwenya to oust Lobengula legislator Samuel Sipepa Nkomo.
“If they successfully manipulate the results, Magwegwe people have vowed to rather have a non-party member to stand for them than have an imposed candidate,” he said.

Sibanda said he was spilling the beans because he had noticed that the party was being destroyed in Bulawayo.

A number of MDC-T members who lost primary elections, have expressed disquiet with the manner the polls were held, saying they were seeking recourse.