HARARE – Confusion has rocked the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC amid conflicting signals from senior officials over suspended mayors as well as the fate of those who stood as independent candidates in the July 30 elections, hence defying the party.
This comes as MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora reversed a decision by the party’s Matabeleland North provincial leadership to suspend Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dlamini.
Dlamini was suspended for allegedly bringing the party into disrepute after he failed to heed calls for him to step down and pave way for its preferred candidate, Margaret Varley.
However, in a letter addressed to the party’s Matabeleland North provincial leadership dated October 29, Mwonzora nullified Dlamini’s sacking.
“Your purported expulsion of the member is null and void for you did not comply with the party constitution as that is the duty of the national disciplinary committee headed by the national chairperson or national council,” wrote Mwonzora.
MDC vice president Morgen Komichi told the Daily News yesterday that while Mwonzora was right that the matter had to go through disciplinary procedures, his letter got it wrong when he nullified the suspension.
“The secretary general’s letter is not clear but what it sought to do was to clarify the fact that due process will be followed but the suspension remains effective until that is done,” Komichi said.
Pressed to say if the lack of clarity on Mwonzora’s part was not a sign of discord in the MDC over the matter, Komichi insisted that all was well.
“It is not like the secretary general is at loggerheads with anyone. It’s only that his letter is not clear but the fact is that the issue of the suspended mayors will be brought to the attention of the national organising committee which will look at the provincial recommendations.
“If they are satisfied with the recommendations, it is referred back to the provincial disciplinary committees where due process will be followed and a final decision taken,” he said.
Komichi also said other party decisions that remain unclear and subject to manipulation by some officials include the fate of officials who stood as independent parliamentary and council candidates as well as those who backed them.
“Regarding those that imposed themselves as candidates when the party had made its choices which led to double candidature in some constituencies, they will also be investigated and disciplined accordingly on a case by case basis,” he explained.
Recently, Chamisa defended the decision to suspend the mayors of Chegutu, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls accusing them of colluding with Zanu PF to defy party directives.
Addressing party supporters during the main opposition’s 19th anniversary celebrations in Harare recently Chamisa said the harsh decision was a pre-emptive strategy to avoid the same party officials working with the ruling party to perpetuate corruption within their councils.
He revealed that some party loyalists were questioning his decision to expel party officials who were ironically elected through processes endorsed by residents.
“We then realised that these were people we could not work with because once you work with Zanu PF, we will discipline you,” Chamisa said, adding “We do not want Zanu PF influence in our councils because it is influence of corruption and manipulating the people.
“Discipline is very important. We told them in Masvingo, Victoria Falls and Chegutu that we will continue to do so until they put forward a mayor who was chosen by the people.”
Apart from Dlamini, Collen Maboke (Masvingo), Henry Muchatibaya (Chegutu) and several councillors were also suspended for allegedly bringing the party into disrepute.