The Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Zimbabwean Industry Minister Welshman Ncube has expelled Deputy Speaker Nomalanga Khumalo from the party, accusing her of being too close to a rival MDC grouping.
Ncube said Khumalo was expelled due to 'intransigence' over her ties to the rival - and larger MDC formation - led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Political analysts said the move will undermine the democratic process in the country as Khumalo stands to lose her seat in Parliament having been expelled from the party.
President Robert Mugabe and other principals in the delicately-balanced government of national unity have been reluctant to hold by-elections. Costs have been cited as the reason, but there are also fears by-elections could destabilize power sharing.
Khumalo told VOA she had only learned about her expulsion from the newspapers as she was not even accorded a hearing by the MDC formation.
But Ncube MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said Khumalo expelled herself from the party by failing to recognize Ncube’s authority.
Maxwell Zimuto of the MDC formation led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - formerly head of the wing now led by Ncube - called the expulsion a non-event.
Organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said Khumalo was welcome to join that wing of the former opposition, which split in 2005.
In other news, Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga was quoted in an interview published in the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper as saying he will quit before the next elections because he is disappointed with the level of violence in local politics and with what he called the preoccupation of leaders with power and personal enrichment.
The lawmaker for Buhera West for the Tsvangirai MDC formation told the paper he was naïve as he thought everybody wanted to move from the past into the future and build a better Zimbabwe. But he said he soon realized some want power and control more.
He told the Independent he was shocked to discover the level of violent factionalism in the run up to the MDC congress in May in Bulawayo.
Matinenga told VOA reporter Violet Gonda that he will detail these complaints in his memoirs, adding that the main reason he is quitting politics is because he wants to make a political statement showing the serious need for a succession policy.
“From the very beginning, even in my constituency, I have always been telling them we need to have a succession policy. If I drop dead tomorrow there should be someone who takes over from me," Matinenga said.
“I do not buy that position that you should be there in order to move things forward or to make a difference because nobody is indispensable,” he added.