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New Divisions Surface in Zimbabwe Co-Governing Party on Eve of Congress

Serious divisions rocked the Movement for Democratic Change formation headed since 2006 by now-Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara on the eve of a party congress expected to oust Mutambara as leader

The Movement for Democratic Change formation headed by Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara was rocked by divisions on Friday on the eve of a weekend congress that was expected to unseat Mutambara as party president and replace him with Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, currently party secretary general.

Some members of the party’s national council declared the congress is null and void and walked out of a pre-congress meeting, correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported.

The so-called Mutambara formation emerged from a 2005 split of the MDC over whether the party should participate in elections for a newly constituted senate. That breakaway from the larger MDC formation led by now-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was led by Ncube and Mutambara, a South African based businessman, was later recruited.

The Mutambara MDC formation has been plagued by divisions and defections.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Director Macdonald Lewanika said the continuing disputes will either strengthen or destroy the party depending on how the leadership deals with such internal dissent, adding that top officials must listen to the rank and file.

Lewanika told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the likely election of Ncube as party president - all 12 of the party's provincial organizations nominated him, making his election at the congress a virtual certainty, will have an impact in national politics.