The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Mat North Divisions Worsen

The MDC-T provincial chairman for Matabeleland North Mr Sengezo Tshabangu and organising secretary Mr Bhekiphilo Sibindi nearly exchanged blows over the weekend as divisions continue to rock the party in the province.

Reliable sources told The Herald a scuffle ensued at the party's Ephumalanga office in Hwange where MDC-T secretary for local government Mr Sessel Zvidzai had convened a meeting on Saturday.

The meetings sought to address challenges facing the MDC-T in the province.

"All hell broke lose when Mr Tshabangu tried to bar Mr Sibindi and Ms Angeline Keswa (provincial deputy organising secretary) from attending the meeting on the grounds that they are currently on suspension. There was a near exchange of blows and Mr Zvidzai had to intervene," the source said.

Mr Zvidzai allowed Mr Sibindi and Ms Keswa into the meeting where they accused Mr Tshabangu of arrogance and dictatorship.

The pair also accused Mr Tshabangu of trying to impose candidates in Matabeleland North in the coming elections.

The MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe is reportedly eyeing Bubi constituency with sources saying she was using Mr Tshabangu to prepare the ground for her.

The divisions and tensions are said to have been worsened by intentions by Mr Abednico Bhebhe, Mr Njabuliso Mguni and Mrs Mary Sipepa Nkomo to represent the MDC-T in elections next year.

The three are eyeing seats in Matabeleland North province, while Mrs Nkomo, wife to Water Resources Development and Management Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo is eyeing a seat in Tsholotsho.

Mr Mguni and Bhebhe defected to the Professor Welshman Ncube led MDC before rejoining the MDC-T but look set to stand for the MDC-T in elections next year ahead of consistent party cadres aspiring to also contest the polls. This, sources say, has worsened divisions in the province.

"The decision by Mr Tsvangirai recently to set aside the suspension of Mr Sibindi and Ms Keswa has not helped the situation as they are now openly challenging the provincial leadership (Tshabangu).

As we speak the pair is mobilising people to pass a vote of no confidence on Mr Tshabangu," added the source.

During the meeting Mr Zvidzai is said to have bemoaned the existence of factionalism in Matabeleland North. He said the situation in the province was serious and required attention by the national organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa.

"He promised to raise the issue at the party's next national executive council meeting," the source said.

Yesterday Mr Zvidzai confirmed he was in Matabeleland North province on official party business.

"It is true I was in Matabeleland North on official party business," he said.

He refused to give further details while efforts to get a comment from either Mr Tshabangu or Mr Sibindi were fruitless.

So bad is the situation in the MDC-T Matabeleland North province with indications that party membership cards were not being sold while Zanu-PF and the Prof Ncube led MDC were making inroads.

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