The MDC-M congress set for this weekend may spark defections of key people from the Arthur Mutambara-led party.
Already, well-placed sources in the party have linked Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Nomalanga Mzilikazi Khumalo, to MDC-T party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Party sources said Khumalo had been Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara’s running mate in the race for the party’s top post.
“She may not leave now, afraid to lose her seat like Abednico Bhebhe, but when nominations for elections come, she will be under Tsvangirai. We know that she has been clandestinely working with MDC-T,” said the source.
“Khumalo was the running mate for Mutambara and hoped that if Mutambara became president, she would be vice-president. That is why she told the media that she is aiming for higher glory in politics. Since Mutambara has virtually lost to Ncube, she can do anything,” the source said.
NewsDay sources also said Tsholotsho Senator Believe Gaule could defect to Zapu, reports which the senator has however dismissed as false.
“Masvingo province may also break away from the party, in solidarity with Mutambara,” another impeccable source said.
“The situation is likely to be like that of Cope (Congress of the People) in South Africa which broke
away from the ANC (African National Congress) in solidarity with Thabo Mbeki hoping that he would join it, but he never. Mutambara may not join the party that will be formed as a result of the breakaway,” the sources said.
Contacted for comment on the rumours in her party ahead of the congress, Khumalo, who seemed uninterested in discussing the subject, said she would stick it out in MDC-M.
“Who spoke to me and I told them that I am defecting? If anything, I am going to fight for whatever there is in my party,” she said.
Khumalo refused to make any further comments on the rumours, opting to end the interview.
However, impeccable sources privy to the goings-on in MDC-M confided to NewsDay recently that Khumalo was being viewed with suspicion by party leaders who strongly believed she had links with MDC-T. In fact, said the source, Khumalo was being seen as “a sellout”.
Khumalo, who is the MP for Umzingwane constituency, was elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly in 2008. Gaule, who has been linked with a move to Zapu, categorically denied it saying:
“It’s the joke of the century. There is nothing like that. It’s only people who want to create stories. There is nothing like that. Even if there are rumours of that sort in my party, I am focusing on rebuilding our party. If there are any defections, I will be the last to defect. I will better remain alone in the MDC,” he said.
Party chairman Joubert Mudzumwe, who was not nominated for any position at the congress, also dismissed rumours that he was leading a splinter group based in Masvingo.
“I am not allowed to comment on the congress issues. As for my attendance at the congress, it’s obvious I will attend. Why not when I am the party chairman?
“On the rumours that I may be leading a splinter group in Masvingo, I don’t want to sound arrogant, but that’s nonsense. I have been loyal to the party and will remain loyal,” he said.
Mudzumwe refused to confirm if he would be contesting for any posts at the weekend congress.
“I cannot answer you on that. That is my personal issue,” he said.