JOSTLING for top posts within the opposition MDC-T is the root cause of divisions rocking the party and scores of party officials who died for the party should be turning in their graves, a senior official has said.
MDC-T Bulawayo organising secretary Albert Mhlanga yesterday told Southern Eye that he had pulled out of the race for the provincial chairmanship saying he was pained by senior members’ conduct of concentrating on positions rather than serving the people.
Mhlanga, who is the Pumula MP, said the ongoing infighting over positions made him cry.
“I know very well that the people of Bulawayo want me to be their chairperson, but seeing the number of people who are also keen on the chair’s post, I have no option but to step aside and remain as organising secretary of the province,” he said.
“That position (organising secretary) can be contested at any time, but I am willing to stand for and rebuild the structures.”
Mhlanga’s utterances come hot on the heels of guardian council member Norman Mabhena issuing a passionate plea to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his erstwhile secretary-general Tendai Biti to swallow their pride and unite the official opposition.
Mabhena said he had reached a conclusion that the Tsvangirai and Biti tiff was driven by self-centredness and a quest for self-glorification.
The MDC-T in Bulawayo was plunged into further turmoil when elections for the provincial chairperson were cancelled last Saturday with acting provincial chairperson Dorcas Sibanda saying the polls were never on the agenda.
The position fell vacant after Makokoba MP Gorden Moyo quit citing factionalism, violence and a general lack of leadership.
Mhlanga had earlier announced that elections to replace Moyo would be held on Saturday.
Besides elections to choose a new provincial chairperson, the post of youth provincial chairperson left vacant by Bekithemba Nyathi was also meant to be filled.
Nyathi, the Mpopoma-Pelandaba MP, is now part of the MDC-Renewal team fronted by Biti alongside Luveve MP Reggie Moyo, a former provincial executive secretary.
According to sources, Bulawayo Central MP Sibanda, Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo, senator Matson Hlalo, Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda and Bulawayo MDC-T veterans’ association chair Jubert Mangena are vying for the chairperson’s post.
Mhlanga said departed party leaders should be turning in their graves because of the MDC-T infighting.
“I am very disappointed by the journey we have travelled since the late Gibson Sibanda, Milton Gwetu, Gertrude Mthombeni and many others left us without completing the struggle,” he said.
“Sometimes I cry when I think about them and looking at what is happening in the party.
“That is why I am not abandoning Tsvangirai before he completes the struggle. I must move with him. Those people who died were concerned with the workers, fighting for their rights, but now leaders are fighting for positions and it’s so painful.”