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MDC-T official seeks police protection as angry party members threaten to beat him up

by Staff Reporter
25 Jun 2013 at 03:08hrs | Views
The state media reports that MDC-T provincial chairman for Matabeleland South Province Mr Watchy Sibanda had to seek police protection when angry party members threatened to beat him up during chaotic primary elections in Umzingwane constituency.

The incident happened on Sunday. Mr Sibanda, who was the presiding officer together with the provincial organising secretary, Mr Solani Moyo and Mr Read Ndlovu, failed to conduct the primary elections after party supporters demanded that council elections run concurrently with those of the House of Assembly.

The trio is accused of seeking to impose the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms Nomalanga Khumalo, who defected from the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC to MDC-T.

The primaries, which were also supposed to be held in Bulilima East and Insiza South constituencies, had to be postponed because of violence.

Party supporters expected primary elections to be held for all positions yet the party only intended to conduct primaries for councillors.

The development angered party members who are accusing the party leadership of influencing a desired result.

In separate interviews yesterday, party members who preferred anonymity said Mr Sibanda could not stand the sight of placard wielding supporters who confronted and threatened to beat him up.

"Mr Sibanda was stationed at Sihlengeni area when angry party members confronted him. Fearing for his life he sought protection from police officers," said a party member.

Interestingly Mr Sibanda is one of the people on record for blaming the security agents for selective application of the law.

Party members said Mr Sibanda courted the ire of the party supporters after he verbally attacked one of the aspiring council candidates for How Mine (Ward 18), Mr Jabulani Ndlovu who is also Umzingwane district secretary after he reportedly referred to him as "Shona" before ordering him to go and contest in Mashonaland.

The party members said Mr Moyo, one of the presiding officers, who was stationed at Nswazi could not stand the embarrassment of angry party supporters who were singing denigrating Ms Khumalo.

"People sang 'Into oyenzayo siyayizonda' and hurled  unprintable insults at Ms Khumalo.

"They also wielded placards that said no to dictatorship and demanded democracy," said another party member.

"We will not accept that, we believe that they want to impose their candidates. Why can't we choose candidates for councillors and House of Assembly at the same time?"

The party members said the protesters were led by the district chairman Mr Velempini Tshili who is also eyeing the seat.

They said Ms Khumalo sat in shock in an Isuzu belonging to Umzingwane Senator Kembo Dube as she helplessly watched angry supporters protesting.

In Bulilima East, former MDC MP Norman Mpofu was supposed to square off with Mr Solani Moyo while Gwanda North's former legislator Mr Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla was being contested by Mr Bhekilifa Sibanda.

In Insiza South, there was a battle to replace the late Mr Jabulani Dube who died just after winning primary elections on 27 May.

The primaries were held at Avoca, Sidzive and Silalatshani.

Party supporters said the presiding officers from the national leadership did not pitch up to supervise the poll.

"Party supporters had to endure hunger and fatigue as they waited the whole day at different venues as the party allegedly failed to provide ballot papers," said a party member.

The party members said one of the aspiring candidates Mr Mpumelelo Ndlovu who is also a national youth execute member claimed to have been given the powers to supervise the election and attempted to impose a Mr Nkululeko Sibanda.

Mr Sibanda is reported to have demanded to be declared as an automatic winner since he came second after Dube in the initial primaries.

In Gwanda North, councillors that were fielded by Mr Mnkandla were all beaten by supporters of Mr Bhekilifa Sibanda.

Contacted for comment, Mr Sibanda declined to give his side of the story while Ms Khumalo claimed to have been away when the skirmishes happened in her constituency.

She further distanced herself from MDC-T saying "Ukhona okutshele ukuthi ngiku MDC-T? (Is there anyone who told you that I belong to MDCT). I have been observing that you have been writing many stories about me without asking for my comment, why now?" she asked.

When pressed to reveal her party, Ms Khumalo declined to comment.

"I have no comment for now," she said.

This is despite the fact that Ms Khumalo was paraded before MDC-T supporters at a rally held by party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in Bubi district on Friday.

During the rally Ms Khumalo chanted MDC-T slogans and pledged to be loyal to the party.

Source - Chronicle
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