The decision by the MDC-T to expel 12 councillors accused of corruption has been hailed as a sign of the party’s commitment to good governance amid warnings the move must not be used as an excuse to settle scores.
Harare deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto and his Bindura counterpart Ivory Matanhire were the biggest casualties in the latest investigation of local authorities controlled by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti last week said the anti-corruption blitz would also target the party’s Cabinet ministers and MPs.
But Kwekwe-based political analyst Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo said if not properly handled, the exercise could trigger further divisions within the MDC-T.
“This might cause divisions within the party as you know that both Zanu PF and MDC-T are suffering from factionalism and internal politics,” he said.
“The move might intensify internal fighting and what is important is to call for an extraordinary conference or congress in order to restrategise rather than axeing each other.”
Another analyst, Samson Marume, said it was now clear that the MDC-T had a different approach to politics compared to Zanu PF.
“The MDC-T is different from Zanu PF in that they publicly acknowledge their mistakes and when they weed out they must do it publicly,” he said.
“It will help them to prove they are honest people. What they need to do is make sure they do not victimise some of their members.”
Gilbert Kagodora, the national coordinator for the March 11 Movement, a Harare-based pressure group, said the clampdown could backfire if not handled properly.
“The fear is the leadership might deal with individuals who threaten those in power, especially now since we are going towards elections,” he said.
“Certain individuals might be jostling for power and use this as a ‘legal’ way to get rid of people in different factions.
“However, dealing with corrupt officials might help them regain confidence from the people.”
President Robert Mugabe often complains that corruption is rife in his government, but rarely acts on the vice.