Bulawayo – The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai paraded at a rally yesterday the children of the late co-Minister in the Organ of National Healing, Reconciliation and Reintegration Gibson Sibanda, Thandi and Mbuso, who have defected from the MDC led by Welshman Ncube to join the MDC-T.
The two were paraded together with an MDC councillor from Mangwe’s ward 13, Emily Mguni, and a former Zanu PF Bulawayo province member who have also defected to Tsvangirai’s party.
The MDC, however, immediately issued a statement that the two were never their members and had “acted against the wishes, belief and vision of their late father”.
At the time of his death last year, Sibanda was MDC vice-president.
He briefly led the MDC at the time of the split in 2005, but was later replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai had always regarded Sibanda as a colleague and paid tribute to him at the party’s congress in Bulawayo in May.
Thandi and Mbuso, who were each given a minute to address party supporters, both said: “We are back home.”
Tsvangirai praised them for returning to the party and said their gesture would allow their father to rest in peace.
“I want to thank all who have come back. I know that tonight their parents will sleep in peace. It was never an intention of their father to rebel against the people. It was uncharacteristic of Sibanda to rebel,” he said.
MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa said it was not his party’s intention to poach from other parties but they welcomed people who wanted to join it.
“We have also received Fanuel Bayayi, a former senator who was a member of the MDC.
“Our philosophy is that to add is to strengthen and to subtract is to weaken. Wherever there is a threat of subtraction, we shall eliminate,” he said.
In a Press statement, MDC secretary for media, information and publicity Nhlanhla Dube, however, dismissed the defections as staged and false.
“While we respect their (Thandi and Mbuso Sibanda’s) choice, we, however, wish to make it clear that the two were not members of our party or held any position in our structures, their names do not exist in our records as members but only as children of the late deputy president of the party Gibson Jama Sibanda.
“We hope they have taken this decision fully aware that they have acted against the wishes, belief and vision of their late father who gave his life for a just and a fair Zimbabwe,” he said.
Dube also said the party wished former senator Bayayi “good luck on his political move.
“It would, however, be of public interest to make it known that Bayayi is avoiding party disciplinary action that was about to be employed against him for putting the name of the party into disrepute after he drove a car without a driver’s licence and caused a fatal accident recently,” he said.