DIVISIONS are widening in MDC Masvingo province after the party disqualified Tongai Matutu from contesting against James Gumbi for the post of provincial chairperson.
Matutu was disqualified because he has not been in the party for five years since he defected to former MDC secretary-general-led Tendai Biti’s People Democratic Party (PDP) before returning to the opposition party two years ago.
Matutu told the Daily News his disqualification was not justified.
“Overview, the decision is unfair, bias and vindictive. The decision was made in the eleventh hour.
“Before I was disqualified I made all the consultations even with the highest office. I was made to believe that I was the right candidate to contest.
“I then prepared for the contest. I think I was not the preferred person that’s why I was disqualified at 3am. The process started at 10am but only to be disqualified at 3am.
“I know what happened. So many shenanigans were taking place. There were so many meetings before the congress.
“If it was the issue of template they should have told me before. I was not disqualified by the party but by individuals and for me it’s business as usual. I will remain in the party.”
Matutu added that the party will continue to be weaker in the province.
“Gumbi didn’t win fairly, why did he disqualify a popular candidate? He fraudulently manipulated the nomination. The unpopular candidate won the process and as a province we are weaker more than what we were.
“We are going to see more crises until the leadership resolve this issue holistically. It’s not about individuals but about the party.”
Commenting on the issue yesterday, MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the party just followed its laws.
“Matutu was not disqualified; there is a template and according to the template he should have applied for a waiver for that five years period, he opted not to apply,” Mafume saidAfter the announcement of Matutu’s disqualification there was chaos as some supporters tried to protest the decision.
This comes as there are complaints from MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora that the playing ground remains uneven.
Mwonzora, along with MDC vice president Elias Mudzuri had initially thrown his hat into the ring declaring his ambition to take over from MDC leader Nelson Chamisa as president of the country’s biggest opposition party.
The former Nyanga North MP, however, made a dramatic U-turn last weekend announcing during the Manicaland provincial congress in Mutare that he will instead back Chamisa who already has been nominated by the majority of the party’s 13 provinces.
Mwonzora who has not received a single nomination for the position of president is now battling for his political life after his Manicaland home province did not nominate him for any position.
While Chamisa was always seen as the favourite to emerge winner, Mwonzora was banking on history – having defeated the popular MDC leader for the position of secretary-general at the 2014 congress.
Then, Chamisa was considered as a rank outsider in those elections.