THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Welshman Ncube is in turmoil as divisions have emerged over the inclusion of the party’s secretary general, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, on the party’s Matabeleland South proportional representation list that saw her gaining a Parliamentary seat.
MDC members in Matabeleland South are up in arms with the party’s leadership, especially Misihairabwi-Mushonga and party treasurer general Paul Themba Nyathi, who is seen as having supported the secretary general’s bid for Senate.
Party members in the province view the imposition of Misihairabwi-Mushonga as violation of the party’s principles.
There has been resistance to the nomination of Misihairabwi–Mushonga to the Senate under a proportional representation system adopted by the inclusive government to improve women’s representation in the bicameral legislature.
The resistance, which surfaced long before the harmonised elections, led to the suspension of the party’s Matabeleland South provincial chairperson, Petros Mkwena in March.
Mkwena was perceived to have been at the forefront of those who wanted to block the MDC’s secretary general, who was not immediately available for comment, from migrating from Glen Norah in Harare where she was a lawmaker under a united MDC to Matabeleland South.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s mother is understood to be from Matabeleland South.
Another version says Mkwena was suspended on allegations that he had verbally insulted Misihairabwi-Mushonga over the phone.
He was then made to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee but was surprised when the hearing recommended that he be promoted from being the provincial chairman to the position of secretary for local government.
Mkwena who prefers control of the province than being in local government has since appealed to the party’s National Appeals Tribunal headed by MDC vice president Edwin Mushoriwa. The matter has since been referred back to the disciplinary committee as it had only made certain recommendations without passing a verdict on Mkwena.
Mkwena this week said members in the province had approached him expressing reservations over Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s representation, but had no answers since it was done when he was on suspension.
On why he was suspended, Mkwena just said: “the suspension was a nonsensical move by great pretenders and opportunists who wanted to take advantage of the election.”
MDC insiders said before Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony for legislators there were attempts to block Misihairabwi-Mushonga from taking up her seat in the upper chamber.
Fresh attempts are underway to have the MDC’s standing committee reshuffled, while others are pushing for an extraordinary congress to restructure the party.
The MDC is expected to hold a standing committee meeting in Bulawayo on Saturday where this issue will be discussed. A postmortem of party’s performance in the just-ended elections would also be undertaken, among other issues.
MDC spokesperson, Nhlanhla Dube, while confirming the holding of the crucial party meeting, dismissed the furore over the nomination of the party’s secretary general ahead of all the other women in the province.
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