Newly elected MDC-T Midlands South chairperson Francisco Masendeke has vowed to work for unity in the province where internal fighting has seen the party faring dismally in general elections.
Masendeke, a businessman of repute, polled 140 votes while his contestant Davies Shoko garnered 135 votes in the recent elections held. There were five spoilt ballots. The elections were held to fill up the gap left by Senator Lilian Timveous who was elevated into the national executive council where she is secretary for domestic affairs.
“It is clear that the province’s members have been at loggerheads, which saw us sometimes having parallel candidates. It is therefore going to be my major task to make sure that we unite the people and make them see the bigger picture – which is fighting against Zanu (PF),” said Masendeke in a recent interview.
He was the party’s candidate for the Chirumanzu parliamentary seat in 2013. He said his executive would soon roll out programmes to reach its grassroots supporters in preparation for the 2018 elections.
“What we need to do is re-energise our structures because the struggle has been too long and some of them are falling by the way-side. If we share the same vision of forming the next government then we need to work very hard here in the provinces to unite our supporters so that they pull in one direction,” said Masendeke.
Former Democratic Councils Forum training co-ordinator, Cleopas Shiri, who was elected vice chairperson, echoed Masendeke’s sentiments.
“We are going to be singing from the same hymn book. We need unity in Midlands if the MDC-T is going to be a force to reckon with. That is what we have said should be our biggest target. Everyone is in agreement about that and we are confident we will achieve that,” he said.
The province is known to have two rival camps– Vekumasowe and Jatropha. In past elections they fielded parallel candidates and split the vote, resulting in the loss of some constituencies and wards to Zanu (PF). In the province MDC-T controls only three parliamentary seats out of a possible 27.