THE opposition MDC-T’s top brass is reportedly still consulting over a proposal to pull out of Parliament and local authorities as a way of pressing the Zanu PF government to seriously consider the issue of electoral reforms.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu told NewsDay yesterday that they had not yet reached consensus on the way forward, but dismissed reports that party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Thokozani Khupe were divided over the issue.
“As a democratic party, the MDC allows for robust debate within the confines of our structures and systems. Regarding the issue of whether to pull out of Parliament or the local authorities in which we are represented, I would want to put it on record that no decision has been made yet. Consultations are still on-going,” Gutu said.
Party insiders, however, insisted that Khupe clashed with Tsvangirai after she led a team that was opposed to the pullout.
This also comes amid reports that Tsvangirai loyalists were pushing for Khupe’s ouster from the party over allegations of opposing the party’s decision to boycott the June 10 parliamentary by-elections.
Khupe refused to comment over the allegations yesterday, referring all questions to Gutu.
“There is a vicious war going on and it seems those advocating for the pullout have Tsvangirai’s tacit support. But he is not going to have it his way because the group against such a move will fight to the bitter end,” a highly-placed MDC-T insider said.
The issue of a pullout, according to sources, was raised at the MDC-T’s national council meeting last month by youth chairperson for the South African province Shelton Chiyangwa.
Chiyangwa reportedly received support from other high-ranking members, but the issue was deferred after fierce opposition from others.
“It is a sensitive issue that is causing a lot of friction internally. Nobody wants to come out in the open and say what should be done, but the argument is that our councillors, while they are figuratively in charge of local authorities, have no power. (Local Government minister Ignatius) Chombo is running these councils. However, when people do not get water or other social services, they blame MDC-T councillors,” the insider said.
“That means they are sitting ducks and those in Parliament are just there as figureheads with not much in terms of value to the party coming out of it. Average voters in Glen View and Makokoba will not understand that our councillors have no power. They want service delivery and for us pulling out will be a clear indication that we are ready to take the fight to Zanu PF’s doorstep. Let them be blamed for the mess they have authored”.