Bulawayo deputy mayor splits MDC

Tinashe Kambarami

CRACKS have emerged in the MDC Alliance following the re-election of councillor Tinashe Kambarami as Bulawayo Deputy Mayor in defiance of the party’s directive that he must step down from that position.

Clr Kambarami on Sunday tendered his resignation as the city’s Deputy Mayor at the party’s offices but was re-elected to the same position yesterday before he could submit a letter to council confirming that he had stepped down.

He resigned after the MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial leadership had given him a seven-day ultimatum to resign from his position or face expulsion from the party and council.

However, MDC councillors yesterday held elections where they re-elected Clr Kambarami as the City Deputy Mayor unopposed after divisions emerged ahead of the holding of the elections.

Party sources said Clr Kambarami was used as a pawn in the party’s factional fights as factions wanted to prove who controlled the province.

“This was a sideshow in the party’s factional fights. Kambarami’s incident was a perfect moment for opposing factions to prove who was powerful and in charge. This is why today the party’s vice president Professor Welshman Ncube was against Clr Kambarami standing in the election but national chairperson Thabitha (Khumalo) ordered the election to proceed resulting in Kambarami being re-elected,” said a party source.

The source said the election ended up pitting Clr Felix Mhaka and Clr Kambarami with Clr Mhaka’s faction walking out after Ms Khumalo ordered the election to proceed, defying the party’s VP. The source said Clr Mlandu Ncube, who was the party’s preferred candidate in the previous Deputy Mayor election, was deemed unsuitable by fellow councillors due to his alleged scandals.

The source said the divisions are just a build up to the MDC Congress set for next year and the drama will continue to unfold going forward. The source said Ms Khumalo wants to assert herself as the party’s godmother in Matabeleland region and is not happy that Prof Ncube was elevated to the party’s vice presidency ahead of her.

“She thought she was going to become an automatic replacement for Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T president) after she left the party. But it seems the party’s president (Nelson Chamisa) sees more substance in Prof Ncube than in her. She is trying to use party structures in Bulawayo to prove that she has support,” said the source.

Contacted for comment, Prof Ncube downplayed the matter saying he does not know if Ms Khumalo had an issue with his appointment to the party’s vice presidency.

Ms Khumalo refused to entertain questions