A delay in handing down the verdict in a High Court case where the MDC is seeking to bar Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara from acting as its leader has given Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Nomalanga Khumalo a lifeline, party insiders said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Justice Lawrence Kamocha indefinitely reserved ruling in an application for the confirmation of a provisional order barring Mutambara from acting as MDC leader.
The MDC led by Welshman Ncube is reportedly planning to expel Khumalo from the party after she declared her allegiance to Mutambara.
If she is expelled, she would lose her Umzingwane seat and her post as Deputy Speaker.
According to party insiders, the MDC is waiting for the finalisation of the Mutambara case at the courts before moving in against Khumalo.
“She has been given a bit of a lifeline depending on when the courts will hand the final judgment,” said an MDC official, who preferred to remain anonymous because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
“It is tricky for the party to take action against her now because of the case that is still hanging.”
MDC national spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said the party had internal processes of dealing with issues “that are divorced from court processes”.
But, insiders insisted the Khumalo issue would only be looked into after the dispute between Mutambara and the MDC was resolved by the courts.
Calls for Khumalo’s expulsion have been heightened after she was seen at a meeting on political violence last Friday.
She was reportedly escorted out of the meeting venue along with other MDC members sympathetic to Mutambara after Ncube’s team protested against their presence.
Khumalo has since denied that she was anywhere near the venue of the meeting addressed by Ncube, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Last month, Khumalo fell out with Ncube after she said she was “not a Ncube bootlicker” and did not take orders from him.
Instead, she claimed to belong to the Mutambara faction. On Thursday she was not available for comment as both her mobile phone numbers were unreachable.
MDC national organising secretary Qhubani Moyo immediately hinted that Khumalo could be expelled for her outbursts.
The party two years ago expelled three MPs namely Abedinico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) and Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) after it accused them of working with the MDC-T.