Chegutu West MDC-T MP Takalani Matibe and party district officials are locked in a bitter wrangle over control of the constituency, with the former alleging district chairman Ernest Mudimu was a “dubious” office bearer plotting his ouster.
Matibe alleged Mudimu harboured ambitions to take over as MP of the area by unleashing rowdy “mercenary” youths to scuttle his development programmes in order to discredit him ahead of impending elections.
“Mudimu is not the legitimate district chairman as his perceived ascendancy before the MDC-T’s 2011 national congress was orchestrated through a sham ballot in which nine wards boycotted and presided over by national executive members out to impose their cronies,” charged Matibe over the weekend.
“The party leadership knows the problems here as I have written countless letters and petitions to Harvest House (MDC-T headquarters).”
Mudimu was reportedly dismantling party structures, causing divisions working in cahoots with Zanu PF politicians to cause mayhem within the MDC-T ahead of polls expected this year, Matibe claimed.
“I strongly suspect he is a Zanu PF plant, who is going around the district removing legitimate ward chairpersons and replacing them with his loyalists,” Matibe said.
“At one time he wrote to the district police commander, Superintendent Manzini Moyo, saying he would cause violence at a planned MDC-T meeting at which I was scheduled to address supporters and police had every reason to deny us permission to hold the event.”
But Mudimu hit back at Matibe, accusing him of taking an “exclusionist-elitist” approach to politics.
“I am the legitimate district chairman with a grip in all 15 wards. However, I have not made public my aspirations to be MP,” Mudimu said.
“I am surprised at the attacks from the Honourable MP, who in actual fact should be working with me to implement programmes.”
MDC-T District organising secretary Trymore Zhanda added: “The MP wants to usurp our powers as district leaders, but we won’t allow that.”
Squabbling within the MDC-T Chegutu West constituency reached fever pitch ahead of the party’s congress forcing party president Morgan Tsvangirai to announce at a rally at Pfupajena Stadium the district, together with Chinhoyi, would not be represented at the elective congress.
However, Mudimu and his executive were reportedly smuggled into the event in Bulawayo, Matibe claimed.