The MDC faction led by former chairman Joubert Mudzumwe suffered a double blow at the weekend after youths loyal to party leader Welshman Ncube seized party vehicles in their possession while Copac booted rapporteurs from their faction out of the constitution-making process.
Ncube’s loyalists had threatened to pull out of Copac if the “rebels” were allowed to remain in the constitution-making exercise arguing they no longer represented the party’s interests.
The rapportuers that have been replaced are Morgan Changamire, Patrick Muusha, Oswell Dziike and Enock Tsikai while Maxwell Zimuto, who was an assistant to co-chairperson Edward Mkhosi was also sacked. Zimuto was the director of information before the party split, while Dziike was the spokesperson for the youths and Changamire was the deputy organising secretary.
A letter from the co-chairpersons stated that Copac took the action at the request of the MDC, now led by Ncube.
“Copac is in receipt of communication from your party that you be withdrawn from the data uploading process as per the attached letter.
“We regret to advise that you are withdrawn from participating from the uploading process with immediate effect,” read a letter dated January 15, signed by co-chairpersons Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) and Edward Mkhosi (MDC).
“Please be advised that Copac shall not be able to accommodate you and provide food with effect from Sunday the 16th of January 2010. Be advised that Copac will be checking you out from hotels by tomorrow (Sunday) at 1000hrs in the morning.”
Copac had earlier refused to replace the rapportuers despite receiving written request from MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, saying the body would not involve itself in internal party politics.
It however bowed to pressure after MDC insisted it would pull out of the exercise.
According to the Global Political Agreement (GPA), Copac should be made up of all the three political parties in the government.
Changamire, a spokesperson of the Mudzumwe faction, confirmed the development but said they would fight.
“We received letters ordering us to leave our hotel rooms,” Changamire said yesterday. “Some of the people have complied but we are preparing to respond. We have rejected the expulsion.”
The faction has since written to the co-chairpersons challenging the expulsion.
“We note that the purported notice to withdraw us is not inclusive as it was not signed by all three co-chairpersons. By virtue of this deficiency it is invalid and the withdrawal is invalid and void as it was not sanctioned by the three co-chairpersons,” they wrote.
The group also said Copac had flouted the contract it had with each of the members by withdrawing them while also arguing the nature of their job meant that they were supposed to be impartial.
“For avoidance of confusion and doubt, Clause Two of the code of conduct for data uploading personnel clearly provides inter-alia that the data uploading shall not display any allegiance to any political party or organisation during the period of the data uploading process until released from duty by Copac. Our clear and unbiased reading of the clause clearly exhibits and recommends that the data uploading officer is not supposed to be associated with any political party,” they argued.
“We accordingly advise that we shall remain put therein in enforcement of our rights in as much as we shall continue uploading data to the targeted time frame.
“We shall continue to enforce our right to accommodation and food, and any attempt to prevent us from doing so shall compel us to approach the courts to enforce such compliance.”
Changamire also confirmed that party vehicles in their possession had been taken.
“They sent youths from Bulawayo and took vehicles from Robson Mashiri (former Masvingo youth chairman) and Mudzumwe. They claim to have structures in Masvingo, but we were surprised that the gang that came was from Bulawayo,” he said.
Officials from the party said the youths were rowdy and threatened Mashiri and Mudzumwe’s family with violence. The party’s deputy spokesman Kurauone Chihwayi dismissed the violence claims while confirming the possession of vehicles.
“I confirm we took the vehicles but they were not violently taken. We are not a violent party. We sent people to go and take them and we did so amicably.”