THE MDC led by Welshman Ncube yesterday reacted angrily to the move by MDC-T to parade two if its former MPs claiming they had defected from the party, saying it was part of a deception campaign.
Former Mangwe MP Edward Mkhosi and his Insiza counterpart Siyabonga Malandu Ncube were on Saurday unveiled at a rally addressed by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai at Stanley Square, Makokoba, Bulawayo.
But MDC said the two had ditched the party a long time ago and were known MDC-T sympathisers even before last year’s elections.
The party accused the MDC-T of using unorthodox means to lure its officials as Tsvangirai steps up efforts to reunite with MDC founding members to neutralise a fresh challenge to his leadership.
“The MDC is aware of attempts by the MDC-T to try and fool Zimbabweans into believing that some of our genuine members including Paul Themba Nyathi, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Jealous Sansole, Esaph Mdlongwa, Jeffret Khumalo, Rita Ndlovu and Million Moyo, among others, would join them at their violent party’s rally,” MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said.
“We are aware that this was a foolish attempt by the ever deceptive MDC-T to try and divert attention from their burning house and leader who is clearly drowning in the deep end and clutching at straws.”
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora insisted there were several top MDC officials who were willing to reunite with Tsvangirai.
“I know my younger brother Nhlanhla Dube is a good spokesperson, but things are not in his side,” he said.
“We would respect what he is saying if it is coming from the people who are concerned. Has Paul Themba Nyathi he speaks about told anyone that he will not join MDC-T? We are not forcing anyone to come. Those who do not want to come must not. As we speak we have 39 MDC leaders from Dube’s party who have expressed willingness to join the MDC-T.”
Mkhosi, who was the MDC Copac co-chairperson during the constitution-making process, gave notice last November of ditching the party if secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga was not recalled from the National Assembly.
Some MDC officials, particularly from Matabeleland South, complained about the nomination of Misihairabwi-Mushonga on the province’s proportional representation ticket saying she was imposed on them as she was from Harare.
Dube yesterday said Mkhosi and Ncube were widely known as far back as 2008 to belong to MDC-T.
“The MDC would like to make it categorically clear that former MPs Mkhosi and Ncube who were purported to have defected from our party at an MDC-T rally at Stanley Square in Bulawayo yesterday (Saturday), are in fact, not our members,” he said.
“It is a matter of public record that they stopped being our members several months ago when they publically terminated their membership.
“These two have been free agents for several months and as true believers and practitioners of democracy, we respect their freedom of political association and choice. Therefore to call them defectors is incorrect and deliberately false.”
In his brief speech on Saturday, Mkhosi said he heeded Tsvangirai’s call for a united front to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power.
“I am here because MDC-T is calling for unity. I responded to that call; not to destroy other opposing parties but to fight Zanu PF,” Mkhosi said.
“The aim is to remove Mugabe from power (but) instead we have been trying to unseat each other and failing to do what we ought to, which is removing Mugabe.”
However, Dube said the MDC hierarchy knew that Mkhosi and Ncube “always” belonged to MDC-T in spirit as they were part of the group of 10 MPs and senators who were allegedly bribed by Tsvangirai in Botswana back in 2008 to return to his party. He said Mkhosi was hanging around in the party for rich pickings associated with his deployment to Copac.
“The others, including Nomalanga Khumalo, Norman Mpofu and Abednico Bhebhe went back immediately while Malandu and Mkhosi stayed on because of the perceived benefits of the unity government where parliamentary committees such as Copac where Mkhosi was deployed by the party, provided rich pickings,” Dube said.
Tsvangirai has been on a crusade to woo founding MDC members and has so far managed to convince former St Marys MP Job Sikhala to rejoin his formation.