via MDC-T councillors shock Tsvangirai by voting ZANU PF mayors | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda on Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The MDC-T has come out guns blazing against party councillors who defied party orders and voted in ZANU PF candidates as mayors in towns controlled by the MDC-T.
The move reportedly shocked party leader Morgan Tsvangirai who has given instructions to provincial executives to deal with the matter as a matter of urgency.
Heads are expected to roll following one the biggest ever party revolts over the election of mayors. The MDC-T believes its councillors sold out by accepting ‘cheap bribes’.
There are reports the MDC-T wants to ‘fight fire with fire’ and expel all the councillors who went against party rules. In mayoral elections held on Monday, MDC-T controlled towns of Kwekwe, Redcliff and Victoria Falls voted for ZANU PF mayors. In cities like Gweru and Mutare, the councillors defied party orders to elect their own from the party, instead of agreed nominees.
This prompted an outcry from party members across the country who called for a major investigation into what caused the worst betrayal since the formation of the party. Senior MPs in the party, like Sam Sipepa Nkomo, called it ‘an absolute abrogation of their representative duties at one of the most difficult periods in the party’s history’.
‘Friends, something is not right. How can MDC councillors, where they are in majority, vote for a ZANU candidate? Am I missing something here?’ asked Nkomo.
South African based political analyst Luke Zunga said the MDC-T needs to show strong leadership to deal with this issue or its supporters will lose faith in the party.
‘Here in South Africa in a town called Tlokwe about 100km north west of Johannesburg, councillors from the ANC went against party orders and voted for a Mayor from the Democratic Alliance. The ANC fired all its councillors and they are having by-elections tomorrow (Wednesday) to fill in the positions,’ Zunga said.
He added: ‘So there is a precedence, a party can decide to act tough against errant councillors if they so wish.’
A highly placed source told SW Radio Africa that Tsvangirai individually phoned provincial chairs who control the affected towns and cities, instructing them to look at how the crisis started in the first place.
This was confirmed by Julius Magarangoma, the provincial chairman of Manicaland, who said they will be meeting as a provincial executive on Wednesday to deal with the issue.
Magarangoma did not mince his words when he revealed that in the case of Mutare, the culprits are known and claimed they were bribed by ZANU PF to sell out the party.
‘We have an enormous responsibility to explain to our supporters who elected these councillors and what led to them to betray the party the way they did. We are meeting tomorrow to see how we got here, who is responsible, and what we can do to make sure that this never happens again,’ Magarangoma said.
Tsvangirai has proposed that each provincial leadership should approach its structures from wards and districts, in order to get to the bottom of this latest crisis to hit the party, following the disastrous electoral results of July 31st.
While ZANU PF is seeking to gloss over the impact of the betrayal by MDC councillors, the Tsvangirai led party has vowed to act ruthlessly and swiftly to deal with party dissidents.
Settlement Chikwinya, the MDC-T MP in Mbizo, KweKwe, said he was left shocked and speechless following outcome of the mayoral elections in the town.
He stressed that voting against the party line is dishonest and if a councillor disagrees with the party, then the only solution is to resign from the party. Already there are reports the rebels are feeling the heat after being ‘pilloried’ by fellow councillors