|MDC-T factionalism deepens|
|Saturday, 30 June 2012 21:08|
Sunday News CorrespondentA STORM is brewing within the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change’s Bulawayo province as it has emerged that the ghost of the party’s factional wars that dominated their congress last year, has come back to haunt them with revelations that the 154 members that recently defected to the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC formation were aligned to the Ms Thabitha Khumalo-Senator Matson Hlalo faction.
Last week the MDC-T supporters defected to the Prof Ncube-led formation, with the party leadership insisting that these members were never part of their structures.
The congress that was held in the city last year was dominated by violent clashes between rival factions after Ms Khumalo challenged Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe for the party’s vice presidency while Senator Hlalo was involved in a bitter battle with Mr Gorden Moyo to be the party’s Bulawayo provincial chairperson.
Ms Khumalo and Senator Hlalo who have, however, denied being actors in the factional battles are reportedly being investigated by the party over the congress’ violence.
Impeccable party sources have revealed that the defectors were part of a group of supporters that were aligned to Senator Hlalo and Ms Khumalo during the MDC-T congress, with allegations that the defectors had discovered that they did not have any future because of the investigations.
The defectors were drawn from Makokoba, Mpopoma-Pelandaba and Bulawayo East constituencies.
“It is not by coincidence that all these defectors are from constituencies where these factional wars were rife, this factionalism is far from over and even our leaders are fully aware of this although they don’t want to admit it in public,” said the source.
Ms Khumalo represents Bulawayo East, Senator Hlalo Makokoba while Mr Samuel Sandla Khumalo represents Mpopoma-Pelandaba constituency.
Mr Khumalo was also part of the Khumalo-Hlalo faction.
The source further revealed that the three legislators were currently being investigated for various matters including the 2011 congress violence.
“The party’s National Executive has completed investigating the violence that happened during the congress and have forwarded their recommendations to the National Council and I can tell you it’s not looking good for either Hlalo or Khumalo thus we believe that these defections are an indirect message that if the party decides to expel them they will go with their supporters,” said the source.
Contacted for comment Senator Hlalo said he believed in a situation where anyone could choose to support any party of their choice, thus the defectors had a right to do as they will.
“First I should emphasise that I don’t have any people but people simply support an idea probably because it is straightforward or honest therefore these people did not support me but supported my ideas.
“As for these alleged defectors I cannot say I know them or I don’t but my belief is they have the right to do as they will; if they choose to support Prof Ncube then let them do so,” said Senator Hlalo.
Ms Khumalo on the other hand labelled the defections as a political statement that the MDC is meant to destabilise the MDC-T.
She denied any knowledge of any defectors from her constituency.
“These people want to only destabilise the MDC-T, they are politicising this issue of defections so that they probably gain national recognition, what should be noted is that there is a difference between defections and people who want to make a pointless political statement. To prove that these people are not being sincere on the very day that they paraded the so-called defectors I was making rounds in my constituency where I covered over 32 000 households from Woodville to Burnside,” said Ms Khumalo.
Ms Khumalo who is also the party’s deputy spokesperson said they were not going to be moved by the defections as they regarded them as a non-event.
In a recent interview, DPM Khupe rubbished the defections saying it was a none event and they were not going to be forced to panic.
“Why should I panic? I have been the Makokoba MP since 2000. I have beaten Sithembiso Nyoni and someone else I can’t even remember, I even beat Welshman (Ncube) himself.
“Anyway what is 84 people, if we were talking say about 5 000 supporters, maybe we would panic,” she said.