FIREWORKS are expected tomorrow when the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial structures meet to choose a new substantive chairperson to replace Makokoba legislator Gorden Moyo who stepped down earlier this month.
The weekend elections come amid infighting and factionalism in the party’s Bulawayo provincial structures which Moyo cited as part of his reasons for quitting.
Party members will choose a new Bulawayo provincial secretary and youth assembly chairperson — positions left vacant after the dismissal of Luveve and Mpopoma-Pelandaba legislators Reggie Moyo and Bekithemba Nyathi respectively for their links to the MDC-T renewal team.
The MDC-T national organising committee led by the party’s national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa would be in Bulawayo to conduct the elections after some provincial members expressed fear that the local leadership would rig the polls.
Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda, who is the acting provincial chairperson, 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, according to sources.
Mangena recently told journalists that the veterans’ association would never allow anyone but their member to occupy the party’s top provincial post. MDC-T Bulawayo provincial organising secretary Albert Mhlanga confirmed they would meet for elections to fill the vacant posts.
“The national organising committee led by Chamisa will be gap-filling vacant positions in the provincial executive in Bulawayo. Besides the vacant post of chairperson, we will also choose a new secretary and youth chairperson since the positions were vacant after Reggie and Bekithemba went expelled,” Mhlanga told Southern Eye yesterday.
In 2011, elections to choose a substantive chairperson were marred by violence and reports of widespread rigging.
Supporters of Hlalo and Moyo traded blows accusing each other of manipulating the accreditation process to deliberately deny other members a chance to vote for their candidate.
Mhlanga said he had pulled out of the race to concentrate “on ensuring that Bulawayo structures are united and strong”.
Mhlanga, who is also the Pumula MP, had initially thrown his hat into the ring, according to reports, and had recently held meetings with structures to apologise for the chaos that characterised the party’s primary elections in what other contenders dismissed as a campaign gimmick.
In the outreach meetings, Mhlanga pleaded for forgiveness from the structures saying he had helped rig primaries in the Entumbane, Magwegwe, Luveve and Pelandaba-Mpopoma constituencies with the blessing of top party officials and the provincial executive.
However, Magwegwe MP Anele Ndebele dismissed Mhlanga’s pronouncements that he won the primaries through rigging as false and accused him of cheap politicking.
Ndebele said Mhlanga should instead apologise to the Pumula constituency for allegedly abusing the Constituency Development Funds (CDF).
“I wish to distance myself from such hogwash. I worked diligently on my campaign and had an amazing team which gave it their all.
“He must apologise to the people of Pumula for abusing their CDF and not run around constituencies sowing seeds of division,” Ndebele said.