‘Khupe, Bhebhe chief orchestrators of divisions’

AN internal MDC-T report has implicated the party’s deputy president, Thokozani Khupe and national organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe in fuelling divisions and disharmony in the main opposition party, particularly in Bulawayo.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The report was compiled by the party’s arbiter-general, Wilbert Musamirapamwe, after he was appointed by MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai early this year to investigate the problems.

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MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday declined to comment on the contents of the document, which he described as “private and confidential”.

“That is a confidential report for the consumption of the president (Tsvangirai) and assuming that you have it, I am surprised how it found itself in the public domain. That is a strictly confidential report,” he said.

“As for the province, Bulawayo is one of the strongest provinces for the MDC-T. During all elections, we will have a clean sweep be it at local government or parliamentary level. That shows we are strong. I will not want to dignify rumours by commenting on the report for the president.”

According to the report, some party members were being discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity, with Shona-speaking members being sidelined in Bulawayo.

“The office gathered evidence, on the ground, that a handful or a tiny cabal of national leaders, who are domiciled in Bulawayo, have fallen into the habit of interfering in the affairs of the province, the districts and other lower structures,” reads part of the report addressed to Tsvangirai.

The report noted that some national party leaders were imposing their preferred candidates in district and provincial structures.
“Many members alleged — in interviews — that some office bearers in the current provincial executive, namely Nomvula Mguni, James Sithole and Gift Banda, were catapulted into the office by Khupe and Bhebhe.

“In the execution of their duties, those office bearers now use names of those national leaders when announcing changes. Both Khupe and Bhebhe have strenuously denied the allegations.”

The report also noted the non-use of templates when electing office bearers, imposition of candidates, forming parallel structures, intra-party violence and ethnicity as part of problems tearing the party apart.

The alleged failure to comply with the voting template later spilled into the courts in a provincial chairmanship wrangle between chairman Banda and Senator Matson Hlalo.

According to the investigations, the report said, there has been a culture of imposition of candidates, especially on the provincial executive, where Banda is alleged not to have risen through the normal structures of the party.

“The level of political violence by members upon members in that province is increasing. Some members have been issued with threats of physical harm and rape,” the reported noted.

The arbiter-general recommended for the investigations and prosecution of cases of indiscipline that have rocked the party and resulted mostly in political violence.

The report also called for action against those who had maliciously damaged the houses of Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda and Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo.

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