Trouble brewing in MDC-T over BikitaWest

TROUBLE is brewing within the opposition MDC-T over reports that the party has decided to back an independent candidate in the forthcoming Bikita West by-election.

Source: Trouble brewing in MDC-T over BikitaWest – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 14, 2017


MDC-T Masvingo provincial chairperson, James Gumbi early this week reportedly claimed the opposition party would now throw its weight behind independent candidate, Innocent Muzvimbiri instead of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First’s (ZimPF) Kudakwashe Gopo.

But yesterday, MDC-T dismissed Gumbi’s declarations. Spokesperson Obert Gutu said there was no official position or resolution that the opposition movement would back “any candidate in the by-election”.

“We are not participating in the Bikita West by-election because of our no reforms no election resolution and I can authoritatively say, on behalf of the party, that there is no official endorsement of any candidate in the Bikita West by-election,” he said.

Sources in the MDC-T said Gumbi was being motivated by factional politics. NewsDay Weekender heard that a faction within the MDC-T viciously opposed to a coalition, particularly with Mujuru, could have been behind the plot to “muddy the waters for our colleagues”.

“This is factional politics at play, there are people in the party, who want to thwart the formation of the coalition because they fear they would lose their positions in a coalition,” the source said.

In a clear indication that all was not well and the reported talks on a coalition between MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mujuru could yet face internal resistance, Gumbi stuck to his guns insisting his party was backing Muzvimbiri.

“I can’t be naïve to say that I received an instruction from the top to back the independent candidate if I did not. It’s not my business to be lying,” he said somewhat exasperated and promising to get to the bottom of the issue.

He, however, refused to name the person, who had given him the instruction.

ZimPF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, on Thursday said his party was working well with MDC-T supporters and structures. Mawarire said media reports that the MDC-T had ditched them were not true.

“Our people on the ground have not told us anything to that effect. What we know is we have their (MDC-T) support on the ground and we look forward to have president Tsvangirai joining us on January 19 at our star rally,” he said.

ZimPF face Zanu PF’s Beauty Chabaya in what could be a litmus test for the Mujuru-led party which enters into its first election since it was formed.

Also eyeing the constituency are independent candidate, Heya Shoko, a former legislator for the area and Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe’s Terrence Makumbo.