THE Welshman Ncube-led MDC has reportedly laid off provincial drivers and shut down some of its offices countrywide due to financial constraints.
These revelations add to the party’s growing misery following the resignation of former director of policy and research Qhubani Moyo and national executive member for Matabeleland South province Siyabonga Malandu Ncube.
The party has also expelled Matabeleland South provincial chairperson Petros Mukwena over allegations of indiscipline.
Mukwena was one of the most vocal in calls for party secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga to be removed from the National Assembly to make way for a woman from Matabeleland South because she is not from the province.
The drivers, some of whom had served for more than 10 years from the days of the united MDC, were reportedly given $1 000 each for their leave days while those who served for four years were given $400 and those who had worked for one year got $100.
The party also reportedly closed its offices in Manicaland, Midlands North, Lupane and Chinhoyi. MDC sources told Southern Eye that the party could no longer afford to run the offices due to lack of funds.
“The Lupane office, for example, will be run from Bulawayo. In Bulawayo there are provincial as well as regional offices. The other branches will be run from the regional offices due to viability costs,” a party source said.
One of the affected drivers expressed concern over the party’s silence on their pensions.
“They only paid for our leave days, but there was no mention of our terminal benefits,” the driver said. “We understand that the vehicles we were using will be given to those that had been seconded to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee.
“We started surrendering the vehicles last week and the process is still going on.”
However, MDC national spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said he was not aware of the developments.
“I don’t have any information to that effect,” said Dube.
“Let me check with the office of the secretary-general then I will get back to you.”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga confirmed the laying off of drivers saying it was not indicative of the party’s collapse as laying off workers was not unique to the MDC only.
“It’s true of any other party. When we employed, we were preparing for elections and recruited too many people. But now that the elections are over, we have to reduce to the normal workforce,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
“I’m fascinated by people who believe a party is dead and yet still talk about it. MDC-T has done the same, laying off workers. Zanu PF has also not paid some workers, but when it’s our party, it signifies collapse.”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the party was renting some of its offices and had moved out in some places like Manicaland and was looking for new offices.
“It’s not true that the Midlands offices were closed, but will be operating from Gweru. We have closed the Manicaland office, but we are looking for other premises,” she added.
Meanwhile, Dube released a statement yesterday saying the Matabeleland South provincial leadership met with party leader Ncube on Sunday and accepted the expulsion of provincial chair Mukwena.
“The provincial leadership further noted that the national disciplinary committee had, acting within its constitutional mandate, taken a decision in the matter regarding the former provincial chairperson Mukwena,” Dube said.