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Fireworks expected at MDC-T congress

by Nduduzo Tshuma
01 Oct 2014 at 07:25hrs | Views
FIREWORKS are expected at the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial congress set for the weekend with party structures divided along factional lines.

The congress, set to elect the provincial leadership ahead of the party's national congress, comes at the backdrop of allegations of rigging against a faction sympathetic to MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe.

The Khupe faction has been accused of setting up parallel structures and rigging in districts that support Matson Hlalo whose faction is believed to be having national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa's sympathy.

Sources in the party, accused Khupe and national chairman Lovemore Moyo of usurping the powers of the provincial organising organ to boost their allies in getting into positions.

Party insiders said they feared a repeat of the 2010 orgy of violence that preceded the party's national congress in Bulawayo.

Scores of party supporters had to be hospitalised following bloody clashes along factional lines.

Last Friday, the party held a stormy meeting at which Dorcas Sibanda, the acting chairperson announced that there would be a rerun of district elections in Magwegwe constituency.

Riot police had to be called two weeks ago following violent disruptions of Bulawayo East district elections after MDC-T provincial organising secretary, Pumula legislator Albert Mhlanga reportedly blocked Bheki Sibanda and fellow national executive member Timothy Mkhahlera from conducting the internal poll. That incensed some youths reportedly aligned to Khupe who turned violent resulting in Mhlanga calling the police.

Sibanda and Moyo last week confirmed the disruptions with the latter saying a report was being compiled on the incident.

Moyo said anyone fingered in the fiasco would be censured by the party.

This was, according to party insiders, despite the fact that the polls had been endorsed by Moyo at a provincial meeting held on September 16.

Mhlanga yesterday confirmed that the party would hold a 24-hour congress set to start at 10am on Saturday and end the same time the following day.

"The congress would be held in Makokoba on Saturday. There is no rigging but the issue of parallel structures in Lobengula and Magwegwe as well as queries on Entumbane," said Mhlanga.

"We are inviting all members and the issue would be solved at the congress."

So far there are two line ups geared to contest at the provincial congress.

There is one proposing Hlalo as chairperson deputised by former deputy mayor Amen Mpofu. Desmond Makaza is in the line up as secretary deputised by Dorcas Nyoni. Mhlanga is proposed to retain the position of organising secretary deputised by Tsepiso Mpofu.

Party legislator under the proportional representation Nicola Brown is reportedly eying the treasurer position while provincial secretary for policy and research, Swithern Chirowodza is eying the position of spokesperson.

The Khupe-aligned grouping on the other hand is touting deputy mayor Gift Banda as candidate for chairperson deputised by acting provincial chairperson Dorcas Sibanda.

Nomvula Mguni is listed for the position of secretary deputised by S Dinnah Adams while Councillor James Sithole was listed for the position of organising secretary deputised by Sinikiwe Mutanda.

Dingilizwe Tshuma was proposed for treasurer and Emganwini legislator Phelela Masuku was seconded for spokesperson.

"What happened is that the Khupe faction usurped the powers of the provincial organising structure after Moyo sent national executive members to preside over the district elections in Bulawayo," said a source.

"That is the function of the provincial organising organ but after realising that their preferred candidates were losing, Khupe connived with Moyo to send national executive members.

"In Magwegwe where elections were held and Hlalo got votes, Sibanda announced that there would be a rerun after instructions from Moyo.

"This resulted in an exchange of words between Sibanda and Chirowodza after the latter confronted Moyo who passed by the meeting venue and denied giving an instruction."

The Magwegwe elections were held on Saturday with national executive member Bheki Sibanda presiding over the polls.

Sibanda, after the elections penned a report that Chronicle is in possession of, accusing members linked to Mhlanga of attempting to disrupt proceedings.

Other sources however claim that there was no accreditation for the polls with allegations of bussing people from outside the constituency to vote.

A bus belonging to a popular church in the city was reportedly hired to ferry youths who were given money to buy alcohol to vote in favour of the Khupe led faction.

"There is a lot of simmering tensions and there are strong fears of an outbreak of violence at the weekend conference. The party is too divided because of this issue of positions," said a party source.

"There are plans to drag Mhlanga before a disciplinary hearing so that the Hlalo grouping is neutralised. Sibanda in the last meeting condemned Mhlanga for saying Khupe is big headed, in the press."

Source - chronicle

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