No confidence vote for MP Thabitha Khumalo
By Brian Chitemba/Nqobile Bhebhe
The MDC-T Bulawayo East district has passed a vote of no confidence in its legislator Thabitha Khumalo as factionalism in the province intensifies ahead of elections expected this year or next year.
MDC-T party insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent this week the vote of no confidence was part of a wider factional fight between Khumalo, who is also deputy national information and publicity secretary, and Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.
The infighting intensified after Khumalo challenged Khupe for the MDC-T’s vice-presidency during congress held last year in Bulawayo.
In a letter dated March 19 to the Bulawayo East district, the provincial leadership led by Gorden Moyo and Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda said they wanted Khumalo sacked with immediate effect for failing to hold feedback meetings after congress.
She is also accused of failing to conduct district leadership workshops.
Khumalo confirmed receiving the letter, saying it was written at the instigation of Bulawayo East district youth chairperson Tinashe Kambarami who is allegedly Khupe’s ally. The district is also baying for its chairman Dominic Shumba’s blood.
Although Khumalo declined to discuss the matter, she said it was unconstitutional for Kambarami’s group to pass a vote of no confidence in her. She said the plot to axe her would fail because she enjoys tremendous support from the grassroots where she was establishing structures for the first time since 1999.
Efforts to get comment from Moyo were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Last year, MDC-T was sucked into a messy factional clash as Moyo battled with Mzilikazi senator Matson Hlalo, who is the former provincial chairperson, for the control of Bulawayo province. MDC-T youths aligned to the warring factions were involved in bloody running street battles resulting in some of them being injured while others were arrested.
Meanwhile, the party’s Bulawayo province is proposing that people with criminal records or pending disciplinary cases should be barred from contesting parliamentary and senatorial elections.
A document being circulated in Bulawayo states: “As we prepare ourselves for a New Zimbabwe we embarked on from 1999 promising Zimbabweans a democratically ruled nation, our leaders at all levels should be exemplary.
“Therefore, with crucial elections approaching as a party we must review our selection criteria from councillors to legislators. Any party member wishing to be a candidate must have a clean criminal record and not have appeared before any disciplinary hearing. This applies from the last national election.”
Sources said the proposal was being pushed by Moyo’s camp targeting members from the rival faction headed by Hlalo facing various disciplinary measures and have pending cases before the courts.
“The lobby is being pushed by people in Moyo’s camp who want to create an opportunity to further consolidate their positions and control of party structures,” said the party insider. “As it stands, some MPs viewed as Hlalo backers would be disqualified if such a clause is included in the guidelines.”
Provincial organising secretary Albert Mhlanga, who is also Pumula MP, said although the party was still drawing up guidelines, no major changes should be expected. The MDC-T will also debate coming up with a party list of candidates which junior members fear would be used to ring-fence senior officials unable to win primary elections. Zimbabwe Independent