Fireworks are expected today at White City Stadium in Bulawayo as Zanu PF and MDC-T Bulawayo provinces booked the same venue for June 10 by-election rallies and will be separated by a perimeter fence.
NQOBANI NDLOVU/PRIVILEGE SHOKO
The MDC-T rally expected to be addressed by party president Morgan Tsvangirai will be at White City Youth Centre Arena while Zanu PF will hold theirs inside the stadium.
Tsvangirai is set to explain the party’s decision to boycott upcoming June 10 by-elections.
The MDC-T has been criticised by supporters and officials over its boycott, with some saying the opposition party had betrayed Bulawayo residents who have voted for it since 2000 Tsvangirai and his deputy Thokozani Khuphe last month snubbed a Bulawayo provincial council meeting where they were set to address members on the by-election boycott amid reports party members had planned to demonstrate against the MDC-T leader.
Khuphe and other legislators in the city are reportedly against the decision to boycott the by-elections.
Zanu PF has never won a seat in Bulawayo where five constituencies are vacant following the recall of MDC Renewal Team legislators from Parliament.
On Saturday, Tsvangirai heads to Tsholotsho North for another rally at Jimila area.
“He has not been to Bulawayo for a while and it’s an opportunity for him to touch base with the party supporters on the ‘NO Reforms, No Elections’ campaign trail,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“It’s the same for Tsholotsho on Sunday where he will be having a big rally.
“These rallies are an opportunity for our leader to tell the people why we decided not to participate in the by-elections since most of our supporters will not understand as they don’t hold any positions in the party.”
However, MDC-T insiders said party supporters in Bulawayo planned to demonstrate against the MDC-T leadership over the election boycott, though others indicated that “infiltrators” were behind calls protest action.
Tsvangirai visits Bulawayo at a time when divisions and infighting are rocking party structures in the city over positions.
Acting chairperson Dorcas Sibanda was once suspended, but later reinstated for refusing to pave way for provincial executive member Nombula Mguni.
Sibanda refused to step aside saying her ouster was unconstitutional. The provincial chairperson post became vacant after the High Court ruled that then chairperson Gift Banda was in office illegally.
This was after Senator Matson Hlalo, who lost the post to Banda ahead of last year’s congress, approached the courts citing vote-rigging, among other irregularities.
Hlalo is now suing Bhebhe and Banda for allegedly defying the High Court.
He accuses Banda of masquerading as the provincial chairperson with Bhebhe’s blessings.