SW Radio Africa (London)

9 November 2012

Zimbabwe: 10 Umzingwane MDC-N Councillors Defect to MDC-T

Ten councillors representing the MDC-N in the Umzingwane rural district council have defected to the MDC-T, after becoming disillusioned with their leader and the direction the party was taking.

Eight of the councillors held a press conference at the MDC-T offices in Bulawayo where they announced their decision. Prior to their defection the MDC-N councillors were the majority in the district council.

Out of 18 councillors 11 were from the Welshman Ncube led party while the remaining seven are from ZANU PF.

Only one councilor, Kenneth Sibanda of ward 10, did not cross the floor. The MDC-T did not win any council seats in the area during the harmonized 2008 elections, meaning that the defections have effectively given the MDC-T control of the council.

Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC-T's deputy national organising secretary, said he was pleased to be able to welcome the councillors to their party. Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us the councillors accused party leader Welshman Ncube of putting more emphasis on divisions than uniting the party.

'They had five points that they raised during the press briefing. The first was Ncube's propensity to fuel more divisions and the second item was the party's decision to back Simba Makoni in the 2008 presidential. This denied Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a clear majority to wrestle power from Robert Mugabe. They said this was a wrong strategy,' Saungweme said.

The third point the councillors raised was that they were tired of the split and wanted to go back to what they described as 'the party of the people,' the MDC-T.

'On the fourth point they accused the leadership of the party of not having the people at heart and the last point was that voters do not want the MDC-N anymore,' Saungweme said.

Our correspondent said the councillors explained that this has been a tough decision and there's been a lot of agonising over many months.

'They said like more and more people from the Matabeleland region, they've lost confidence in the MDC formation and they had got sick and tired of giving the leadership the benefit of the doubt,' he said.

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