According to the agreement, which was signed following the consummation of the alliance in August 2017, constituent parties were to field candidates in select areas – without being contested by other parties in the pact.
However, this does not appear to be the case anymore, with Nelson Chamisa and his close allies now being accused of shredding the coalition agreement by allowing members from their group to take part in such designated vacant seats, including the Kuwadzana constituency in Harare.
This is despite the fact that the alliance agreement says Ncube’s MDC Green is supposed to field its candidates in the primary election, as the constituency falls within its allocated basket of seats.
This comes as Chamisa is involved in a fierce tussle with MDC interim leader Thokozani Khupe for control of the country’s largest opposition party.
Amid these ugly ructions, Ncube’s lieutenants have now walked away from this weekend’s party primaries – accusing Chamisa and his associates of mutilating the coalition’s agreement.
One of the aspiring candidates from the Ncube group, Kurauone Chihwayi – who was the MDC Green’s spokesperson before the consummation of the MDC Alliance – told the Daily News yesterday that he had to withdraw from the Kuwadzana race out of frustration and alleged lack of principles by the Chamisa camp.
“This decision was reached after thorough consultations with relevant individuals and members of the then MDC Green in Kuwadzana in particular, and Harare in general.
“I am strongly disturbed by the violation of a valid MDC Alliance agreement that expires in 2023, which gave the seat to the MDC Green led by Welshman Ncube.
“As such, I expected MDC Green to elect or choose one of its own to finish the term of office left by the late Miriam Mushayi,” a fuming Chihwayi told the Daily News.
“I did not see the rationale of participating in a primary election with members of the MDC in the MDC Alliance.
“I am a full member of the MDC Alliance by virtue of being a member of the MDC (Green).
“For purposes of fair play and respect of political partners in the MDC Alliance, it is my view that MDC in the MDC Alliance should unconditionally withdraw from the contest for the vacant Kuwadzana seat and leave it to the MDC (Green),” Chihwayi said further.
Another aspiring candidate from the MDC Green, Ellen Shiriyedenga – who is MDC Alliance deputy secretary for elections in the national executive – also confirmed that she had withdrawn her candidature from the election, but declined to disclose her reasons.
“I am out of it and I do not want to comment further,” she said curtly. However, MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo said the coalition agreement was no longer binding as alliance partners were integrated to
form one party.
“That is mere corridor talk. The position is very clear that leaders come from the people, hence there are going to be primary elections on Sunday. “We choose candidates from the MDC Alliance party, not the pact because it no longer exists.
“We are all one party after we held our congress in 2019. So, those who continue to speak in terms of the pact are retrogressive elements out to cause confusion to further their personal ambitions,” Hlatywayo told the Daily News.
“An argument that could probably carry weight is that we encourage women to participate in the election to increase the number of our women in leadership positions,” he added.
Shiriyedenga and Chihwayi would have battled it out with former ward 45 councillor Girisoti Mandere – who was recently recalled from Harare City Council – as well as with Moses Mbulanje, Rebecca Nengomasha, Fabi Mqabuko and Johnson Matambo.
According to the alliance agreement, Ncube was allocated Dzivaresekwa and Kuwadzana, Bulawayo East, Luveve, Tsholotsho North and South, Lupane East and West, Gwanda Central, Insiza South, Gwanda North, Bulilima West, Buhera North, Mutare North, Marondera West, Chikomba West and Mutoko North constituencies. In Mashonaland Central, Ncube had Mazowe South and West, Chegutu East, Hurungwe East, Mhondoro Mubaira in Mashonaland West, Chiredzi East and Chivi North and South constituencies in Masvingo.
The MDC (Green) also got Gokwe Nembudziya, Sanyati, Mberengwa East, Shurugwi South, Zvishavane, Runde and Vungu constituencies.
Alliance insiders told the Daily News yesterday that the issue had become very emotive in the party, with Chamisa’s camp accused of attempting to snatch constituencies from Ncube.
Apart from Ncube’s MDC Green, other parties which joined the MDC Alliance were Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Jacob Ngarivhume’s Transform Zimbabwe, Zanu Ndonga and the Multi-racial Christian Democrats (MCD) led by Mathias Guchutu.
The latest storm comes as political analysts have warned Chamisa and the MDC Alliance that they risk sinking into political oblivion if they do not respond appropriately to the onslaught from authorities and the Khupe group.
It also comes as the Supreme Court has granted Khupe time to hold the party’s delayed extra-ordinary congress by yearend – in yet another development that has far-reaching implications on the future of the country’s main opposition.
Unless the continuing mindless bloodletting consuming the MDC is halted, Chamisa will also not be able to participate in the party’s leadership contests when the court-directed extra-ordinary congress gets under way in December.
This is after the party’s interim leadership declared that all MDC Alliance leaders, as well as expelled members were not eligible to take part in that elective assembly.
Khupe expelled Chamisa in June this year – which effectively leaves him with little choice but to form his own party, if he still harbours political ambitions.
Chamisa and Khupe have been brawling for control of the party since Morgan Tsvangirai’s death on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
The battle has in the past three months worsened with each passing day, with Khupe recalling a total 31 party legislators to date and several councillors who had aligned themselves with Chamisa.
Khupe recently recalled 10 more MPs from Parliament, including Chamisa’s deputy Lynette Karenyi-Kore – who had earned her seat for Manicaland via the proportional representation route.
Others who were recalled include Dorcas Sibanda (Bulawayo proportional representative), Caston Matewu (Marondera Central)), Concilia Chinanzvavana (Mashonaland West proportional representative), Susan Matsunga (Mufakose), Prince Dubeko Sibanda (Binga North), Unganai Tarusenga (St Mary’s), Eric Murai (Highfield East), Wellington Chikombo (Glen Norah) and Etheridge Kureva (Epworth).
Prior to that, the Khupe group had recalled 21 other legislators – including MDC Alliance secretary general Chalton Hwende.