MDC-T infighting over leadership renewal seems to have cost the party’s Matabeleland South chairperson Watchy Sibanda his job after a vote of no confidence was passed against him on Saturday on charges that he belonged to the camp calling for leader Morgan Tsvangirai to go.
The provincial youth assembly gave Sibanda a one-week deadline to surrender the party’s Isuzu vehicle he is using and warned other provincial and district members against “engaging with rebels” as they risked disciplinary action — in a clearest sign of an on-going purge of members calling for Tsvangirai to stand down.
“As vanguards, we also call upon provincial and districts members who are in cahoots and are continuing engaging with rebels on party issues to stop it forthwith.
“Failure will result in disciplinary action against them,” said MDC-T Matabeleland South provincial youth chairperson Morgan Ncube yesterday.
“As youth, we have lost confidence in the leadership of Sibanda. We passed a vote of no confidence and therefore call on him to vacate the chairmanship position forthwith for failing to lead.”
Sibanda professed ignorance about the vote of no confidence against him.
“I don’t know anything about that. I am on my way to Harare,” Sibanda said in a telephone interview.
The party’s provincial spokesperson Mthokozisi Bhebhe said the provincial executive would meet today to deliberate on the vote of no confidence against Sibanda.
“We will have our own position today as the mother body of the province,” he said.
The MDC-T Matabeleland South youths accused Sibanda of undermining Tsvangirai and betraying the people that elected him into office.
“He has kept the party’s new Isuzu truck at his house from last year February up to date hence we give him seven days to surrender the vehicle to the provincial office. The chairman attended a clandestine meeting in Nyanga whose details were not disclosed to the province,” the youth statement read.
“In November 2013, the president was pencilled to come to our province (and) the chairman never communicated thereby sabotaging the visit.”
They said Sibanda was also being kicked out “for promoting factionalism in the party and undermining the office of an elected official of congress”.
The youths said they were solidly behind Tsvangirai and “we remain confident and steadfast in the leadership of Tsvangirai; he will be our presidential candidate for both (the) 2016 congress and 2018 general elections”.
Tsvangirai has resisted calls to step down and the party’s deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma was assaulted last week while other senior party officials were also roughed up at the party’s head office for demanding leadership renewal.