Although Ms Khumalo has not been officially demoted yet to an ordinary National Assembly member, sources within the party have indicated that the opposition leader wants to replace her with one of his deputies, Ms Lynette Karenyi.
Ms Khumalo assumed the leader of opposition post following 2018 harmonised elections. Her sympathisers yesterday dumped flyers at the MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial offices and different parts of the central business district castigating Mr Chamisa for his decision.
The distribution of the flyers was timed to coincide with Mr Chamisa’s visit to the city yesterday ahead of an address to party supporters today. Some of the flyers slamming Mr Chamisa seen by this paper accused him of using politicians from Matabeleland only to discard them later.
“Chamisa hlukana lathi lo Thabitha Khumalo wethu. (Chamisa leave us with our Thabitha Khumalo). Chamisa kungani uhluthune isikhundla sika Thabitha Khumalo njengomeli we bandla leMDC ephalamente? (Chamisa why are you forcefully taking Thabitha Khumalo’s position in Parliament). Chamisa yekela ukusebenzisa abantu beMatebeleland ukuqhuba inhloso yakho yokubusa ngodlame. (Chamisa stop using people from Matabeleland to advance your agenda of grabbing power). We stand for Thabitha Khumalo for leader of the MDC in Parliament,” reads one of the flyers. Efforts to get a comment from Ms Khumalo were fruitless as her mobile phone rang continuously without being answered.
Contacted for comment Mr Chamisa’s spokesperson Dr Nkululeko Sibanda denied the flyers were coming from MDC Alliance members.
“This leaves me with a simple logical conclusion that these flyers did not emanate from the people of Matabeleland or the members of the party but perhaps desperate State agents.
“That is my theory that these are State agents trying to stoke fires that do not exist. This is an attempt by the State agents to abrogate to themselves president’s prerogative in terms of appointments. Because the president has not made any statement at least in terms of appointments,” he said.
This is not the first time that Mr Chamisa was defied by Bulawayo structures. In May last year, some members painted graffiti at the party’s provincial offices denigrating Mr Chamisa for alleged dictatorship and tribalism.
Mr Chamisa was dragged into the tribal storm when the party held a provincial congress in Bulawayo the previous month where he was accused of manipulating processes so that his desired candidates chosen on the basis of ethnicity win the positions they were contesting.