The MDC-M party has split.
The battle for leadership between Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube, who is the hot favourite to assume leadership of the party at the national congress which begins today, has resulted in Mutambara’s backers announcing they were not attending the “charade” and will instead hold their own congress.
The party’s national chairman Joubert Mudzumwe announced yesterday that Mutambara would remain president of the party while Nomalanga Khumalo would take the vice-president’s post, left vacant after the death of Gibson Sibanda last year.
Mutambara has said he is not interested in any position at the congress, but Mudzumwe said he would remain their president, because a congress was yet to be held.
Mudzumwe — who was chairing the party’s last national executive meeting before congress — walked out of the meeting held at a Harare hotel along with several members of the party, including the women’s assembly chairperson Hilda Sibanda, deputy national organising secretary Morgan Changamire, secretary for education Tsitsi Dangarembga and the national youth chairperson Costa Chipadza among others. They convened at another Harare hotel where they made the announcement.
“In the meantime, Professor Arthur Mutambara will remain the president of the party until a legitimate national congress is held. Nomalanga Khumalo will be vice-president of MDC, replacing the late Gibson Sibanda,” said Mudzumwe, amid applause from his backers.
Mutambara remained behind attending the national executive meeting.
MDC-M spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa however insisted Mutambara was not behind the walkout and
would be at today’s congress.
Mudzumwe said Mutambara had led the party well since taking over in 2006 and accused Ncube and the party’s deputy secretary-general, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, of violating the party’s constitution to seize power.
He alleged that Ncube sidelined people who were in the party’s structures and chose sponsored delegates to achieve his objectives.
“We don’t want to go to a congress full of sponsored delegates picked from the streets,” he said.
Asked if he was announcing a split, Mudzumwe’s supporters shouted “yes” although he insisted that it was Ncube and company who had left the party while they were the real MDC.
Quizzed further, he said: “It’s not us announcing the split, but if the events cause a split then let it be so,” insisting the party would be holding its own congress to choose the leadership.
Changamire also said the party had been having serious problems in the last five years, most of which they chose to sweep under the carpet “for the sake of unity”.
He said chief among the problems was the usurping of power by Ncube and Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
“Every organisation has division of labour but this was not the case in our party . . . I have worked as the deputy organising secretary but, believe me, I have done nothing.
Even the chairman has been a prisoner of the people who love power, the president has been a prisoner of people who love power,” said Changamire.
He said Ncube had harassed and intimidated people who had spoken out against his dictatorship, citing the disciplinary action taken against several party members.
He said the nomination process was “flawed, disorderly and chaotic” as people who were in the structures were alienated while some of the party’s structures were dissolved and Ncube’s sympathisers put in place.
Changamire also alleged that the party had not produced audited financial statements since 2006, while the treasurer-general had no knowledge of the party’s finances.
“Save for two people, the party does not know how much was received or what happened to the money.
“Generally it’s the treasurer-general who should handle finances but in our case, believe you me, he doesn’t know anything. Everything was handled by the secretary-general and his deputy,” he said.
Mushoriwa however said those who walked out were bitter because they had failed to secure nominations.
“Mudzumwe and company have failed to secure even a single nomination from any province and, knowing that he is an outgoing chairman, he has decided, in his wisdom or lack of it, to create a diversion from the real thing,” he said.
“He walked out of the national council and president Arthur Mutambara then chaired the meeting. For them to say they are backing Mutambara is not only nonsensical but mischief of the highest order.”