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Shape up or ship out, Gumbi told

by Agencies
07 Aug 2019 at 16:34hrs | Views
MDC national leadership has threatened the James Gumbi led Masvingo Provincial Assembly executive with dissolution for incompetence and factionalism, The Harare Post can reveal.

The provincial executive, Gumbi in particular, has been accused of non-visibility and failure to mobilise support for the party. The threat comes after a pitiable turnout was recorded at a provincial council meeting on Sunday in Masvingo. Only Sixty instead of the anticipated 1000 people showed up for the meeting that was also attended by some national executive members.

"Gumbi was summoned by the national executive members after the meeting to explain the reasons for the miserable turn-out. He explained that the current socio-economic situation in the country is incapacitating people from attending party meetings.

"He also reasoned that the meeting was called at short notice and went further to blame (Tongai) Matutu camp for the poor attendance. He accused the Matutu faction of running parallel programmes in the province and further alleged that the camp was backing (Tendai) Biti in his bid to take over from president (Nelson)Chamisa before the congress in 2024," said a well-placed source.

The source said the explanation did not satisfy the national leadership which occasionally interjected, accusing him of a plethora of misdeeds.

"Gumbi was accused of non-visibility. The leaders told him straight from the shoulder that the party was no longer as vibrant as it used to be since he took over leadership in Masvingo in 2014. They also said there had been leadership crisis in the province since the chaotic provincial congress in April," said the source.

According to the source, the national leadership observed that most of the provincial executive members reside in Harare, an arrangement that they attributed to the party's non-visibility.

The national leadership, the source said, threatened to recommend dissolution of the Gumbi executive if the party lost the Masvingo North Constituency Ward 1 and Zaka East Constituency by-elections.

The source said there was a near uproar at the meeting over the selection of Derreck Charamba as Zaka East Constituency candidate. He said Provincial Youth Assembly Chairperson, Kingsley Sibanda and his Organising Secretary, Paul Rimayi openly challenged Gumbi to hold primary elections to select a popular candidate instead of imposing Charamba.

Sibanda and Rimayi subscribe to the Matutu faction. Gumbi controversially won the Masvingo chairmanship in a heavily manipulated congress. Matutu, despite commanding grassroots support, was disqualified in the eleventh hour after Chamisa invoked the party congress template where Matutu came short of the continuous five-year membership threshold.

 Under Gumbi's leadership, the MDC has already dismally lost the Bikita East Constituency Ward 32. In 2018 elections, the MDC lost 25 of the 26 constituencies in the province to Zanu PF. The MDC fears that 2023 elections will be a repeat of the 2018 if Gumbi was not shipped out.

The embattled chairman faces a daunting task of winning the two by-elections to save his job. The Zaka East Constituency is a Zanu PF stronghold.

Source - Agencies