MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai will not reverse the party’s decision to recommend academic Mandla Nyathi as Bulawayo’s new mayor despite reports some newly-elected councillors intend to ignore the directive, his spokesperson said yesterday.
MDC-T last week nominated Nyathi, a lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology for the mayor’s post, while Ward 3 councillor Martin Moyo was selected to be his deputy.
The decision was made at a Bulawayo provincial meeting that was attended by Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and his deputy Abednico Bhebhe.
However, elected councillors will have the final say on the candidate when they vote at their first meeting.
There are reports that some of the councillors feel Nyathi and Moyo were imposed on them hence the alleged plot to sabotage the MDC-T plan for Bulawayo.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday played down fears that councillors might defy the party leader.
“All I can say is that there have been vigorous consultations,” he said.
“Our president is not a dictator, but consulted a number of stakeholders, including residents’ associations.”
He ruled out any chance of a revolt saying the decision to recommend Nyathi was made after “wide consultations”.
But MDC-T insiders insisted Nyathi was an unpopular choice and described the selection process as chaotic.
They said Bulawayo lawyer Kucaca Phulu, who was eyeing the mayoral post, had to be called by some party members after he was not informed of Thursday’s provincial meeting where Nyathi was selected.
Meanwhile, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director Mcdonald Lewanika took to Facebook to express his disillusionment with the way Tsvangirai was running the MDC-T.
“President Morgan Tsvangirai must remember it is about the people not the leadership,” he posted on Saturday.
“In 2005, he defied a leadership vote on the Senate issue and survived because his action and sentiments, while unpopular, with the rest of the MDC leadership, resonated and was in sync with the people.”
He cited the case of prominent MDC-T lawyer and MP elect for Dangamvura-Chikanga,
Arnold Tsunga, whom Tsvangirai tried to elbow out of the parliamentary race in favour of Giles Mutsekwa.
Tsunga went on to beat Mutsekwa during the July 31 elections.
Lewanika wrote: “It may well cost him (Tsvangirai) and the party the respect and support of many residents of Dangamvura-Chikanga. It will cost him and the party the support of those who thought he and the MDC-T were an alternative and whatever chances he had left of being a head of State in Zimbabwe and the MDC-T a governing party.
“For most of us, this is likely to be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he added.
Tsvangirai has also come under fire for allegedly imposing mayors in Gweru, Harare and Chitungwiza.