Some members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Douglas Mwonzora say factionalism is worsening in the party ahead of the forthcoming council and parliamentary by-elections following claims of widespread rigging in primary elections.
Disgruntled MDC-T activists say several people who represented the party in the 2018 general elections have abandoned the Mwonzora faction alleging that he wants to dump vice president Thokozani Khupe before the by-elections and elective congress expected to be held sometime this year.
Khupe’s aide, Ntando Ndlovu, said, “There are many people who are abandoning the election process and have withdrawn from the primaries because they feel that Mzonwora wants to expel Khupe as he fears that he may lose the top leadership position to the former deputy prime minister.
Ndlovu said, “Those that are abandoning the primaries say they cannot be elected when Mwonzora and his colleagues want to recall her from parliament while giving Khupe a hard time everyday.
“There are several party structures that have been dismantled and this has resulted in some people abandoning the electoral process. We are unhappy about what is going on. For example, the party structures were dismantled in Ascot when people chose their leadership but Mwonzora’s colleagues then decided to hand pick their own people to fill all the positions. In Bulawayo people are protesting that the 2014 structures have been dumped.”
Ndlovu said there are many regions where people are abandoning the party due to internal election rigging.
“It’s not in Bulawayo alone where five people withdrew as there are many people doing the same in different parts of the country. We know that in Daluka Ward in Lupane, the person who was supposed to be the candidate withdrew from the primaries and the same happened in the Midlands province and in Harare and Chitungwiza.”
He said all the people abandoning the electoral process are doing so in solidarity with Khupe, who is being given a torrid time by Mwonzora and his colleagues.
But Witness Dube, the MDC-T secretary for information and publicity, dismissed these allegations, noting that “all the people who withdrew were mere candidates and not people that have been nominated to represent the party in the forthcoming by-elections.”
Dube said, “It’s common to have people withdrawing from primary elections and so nothing is amiss about what these people are doing.