The MDC Alliance Commission of Inquiry set to probe the never-ending Bulawayo Assembly squabbles has absolved provincial chairperson James Sithole of any wrongdoing and accused national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo of fanning factionalism and creating parallel structures.
Leader of the commission, Lynnette Karenyi Kore, recently told the National Standing Committee (NSC) that Khumalo had become big headed as she and her faction members such as Swirthern Chiroodza and Helen Zivira were terrorizing anyone who opposes her using the provincial security department.
According to a contact, Kore told the NSC meeting that she invited Khumalo, together with other Bulawayo party leaders, representatives of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the informal sector to an inquiry session, but Khumalo flatly refused to appear before the commission and opted to send members of her faction.
The source added that Kore revealed to the meeting that Khumalo was positioning herself as the heavyweight of the Matebeleland region and has since drawn a list of her preferred local government and national assembly candidates ahead of 2023 elections.
According to Kore, Khumalo was dangling party positions and parliamentary seats to anyone who would support her bid to consolidate power within the region and was using the provincial security personnel to terrorize anyone who supports the rival Welshaman Ncube and James Sithole faction.
Contact said Kore further reported that Khumalo was using her proxies, particularly Zivira and Chiroodza, to push her agenda. She recommended that the duo should be relieved of their positions for sanity to prevail again in Bulawayo.
The contact added that Kore informed Chamisa that Sithole was a victim of smear campaign by the Khumalo faction and recommended that he should remain as the provincial chairperson as he was a hard working chairperson who has initiated visible programmes for the party in the province.
According to the same contact, Kore told the NSC that the CSOs in Bulawayo also accused Khumalo of lacking professionalism and using foul language against her perceived enemies. The CSOs has since blamed the squabbles within the Bulawayo structures for stifling party progress as leaders are now spending time fighting.
However, according to the contact, the MDC A national leaders have resolved not to dissolve the entire Bulawayo structure, but to find ways of mending the rift between Khumalo and Prof Ncube. The leaders also resolved to disband the provincial security team as it was heavily involved in the factional fights.
Khumalo and Ncube are fighting for the control of the Matebeleland region and the former has resorted to smear-campaign anyone who is seen to be supporting Ncube. The MDC Alliance is riddled with serious factionalism pitting Chamisa faction and the Maruva cabal and this is threatening the continued existence of the opposition movement ahead of the 2023 plebiscite.