Mwonzora suffers Bulawayo by-elections blow

Douglas Mwonzora
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MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has suffered a blow in Bulawayo after four members chosen as party candidates for the March 26 by-elections declined the offer and pledged their allegiance to a faction led by deputy president Thokozani Khupe.

Dorcas Nyoni from ward 19 in Magwegwe, former councillor Sheilla Musonda and Annie Nyathi both from Makokoba ward 8 and Sibusisiwe Adams from Mpopoma (ward 9) wrote to the party asking that their names be withdrawn from the candidates list.

Instead, the quartet pledged their allegiance to Khupe’s faction, exposing deep-rooted factionalism within the MDC- T.

In a letter to MDC-T provincial secretary-general Gandi Mudzingwa, Nyoni said: “I do not belong to any of your structures. I hope you will assist by removing my name,” Nyoni wrote.

Yesterday, Nyoni told Southern Eye that she did not recognise Mwonzora’s presidency.

“I do not want to embarrass myself, it’s better to continue with my work in council than to get two votes. I cannot stand for Mwonzora. They do not know me and I have never attended any of their meetings,” Nyoni said.

“I am not part of them and I won’t do that. Of course, I am popular in the ward, but I cannot represent Mwonzora.”

Adams told Southern Eye that she withdrew her candidature after realising that Mwonzora’s approach was unprocedural.

“I was supposed to be elevated to provincial secretary when our colleagues who include the then chairperson Gift Banda were elevated to national leaders, but that did not happen,” Adams said.

“Later on, they told us that the organising team from Harare would visit us to restructure the province, but when we went to the venue of the meeting, we found the likes of Silas Chigora and Witness Dube, who were not part of the 2014 structures who told us that the meeting had been cancelled. Two days later, we heard that they held their meeting at Thamani Moyo’s home.

“I cannot be used and dumped just like that. I will not even be part of their congress. I am in ward 9. They do not have structures.”

Musonda accused Mwonzora of violating the party’s constitution.

“Mwonzora has never met me and why does he want me to be his candidate? We have realised that he (Mwonzora) has installed his own provincial executive which was not even part of the 2014 structures,” Musonda said, adding that he would work with Khupe.

Musonda also claimed that Mwonzora did not have structures in Bulawayo.

Nyathi also raised similar allegations against Mwonzora.

Mudzingwa yesterday said he could not respond as he was in a meeting, but MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube confirmed seeing the letters from the disgruntled party members. He said the party listed them as potential candidates after considering their previous applications to contest.

“They are not yet candidates and I do not understand why it should be an issue. Maybe they noticed that they would not succeed. They had applied through the province which they now claim not to recognise,” Dube said, adding that his party was still vetting