The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube has expelled five of its legislators, accusing them of supporting the rival wing led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The five include Tsholotsho South MP Maxwell Dube, Thandeko Zinti Mkandla of Gwanda North, Umzingwane’s Nomalanga Khumalo and two senators, Dalumuzi Khumalo of Lupane and Kembo Dube of Umzingwane.
They join three other lawmakers, Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) who were ejected from the party over the same charges in 2009.
Letters sent out by the party's secretary general Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga read in part: “After the party’s national congress in January 2011, you have refused to work for the party and in fact rejected the authority of the party’s national leadership and the National Council and generally disassociated yourself from the party.
“This conduct is the sort of conduct anticipated by the said article 4(10) (a) of the MDC Constitution, in that your conduct not only repudiated your membership of the MDC but amounted to open and brazen support for another political party.
"By your conduct, you automatically expelled yourself from the party with effect from March 2011 when you refused to accept authority.”
The development leaves the Ncube formation with only four members of the lower house - Moses Mzila Ndlovu (Bulilima West), Siyabonga Malandu Ncube (Insiza South), Edward Mkhosi (Mangwe) and Patrick Dube (Gwanda South).
Its senators are now also reduced to four, and they are David Coltart, Lutho Tapela, Believe Gaule and Robert Makhula.
The party says it will now officially inform parliament of the expulsions, and once that happens, the five will cease to be legislators.
Two of the expelled lawmakers refused to comment while the rest were not reachable.
Ncube MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube told VOA the legislators expelled themselves by switching allegiance to the Tsvangiriai MDC.