ZIMBABWE - BULAWAYO - The Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai has welcomed the move by the Nkayi District leadership and 23 councilors to cross the floor back to the MDC, saying it was a triumph for democracy.
In an interview with ZimDaily, MDC party spokesperson and Minister of Information Communications Technology Nelson Chamisa said it was good news to hear about the move, as people should be united under one banner of the MDC, which was championed by workers.
“ Well in the minds of every Zimbabwean there always been one MDC and that MDC is alive and kicking.
It is also growing from strength to strength and we have enough space for all democrats who want to participate in the building of this country,” said Chamisa.
He said when MDC was formed in 1999 it was a united force and people should unite under one banner than to have splinter groups.
“ In fact its good news for democracy and people should be united under their movement of MDC.
When we formed the MDC it didn’t have surnames, prefixes or suffixes,” he said.
Chamisa’s comments came in the light of a decision made by the Nkayi District executive and all councillors in Nkayi Rural District Council belonging to Mutambara to cross floor to the real MDC apparently irked by the “dictatorial” tendencies of their leadership.
However, reacting to the defections MDC-M, deputy spokesperson, Renson Gasela said the defected should inform the leadership about their decision in writing so that they would know that there are vacancies in the wards they represent.
“In terms of the GPA on the Electoral Act section 21.1 stipulates that if vacancies arise in the wards there is no other party which can nominate candidates except for the one in which vacancies have arisen.
This means MDC and Zanu PF could not file candidates in the event of a by election. But all other parties are not forbidden to field candidates or participate as independents,” said Gasela.
He said if it was true that the councilors have defected to MDC, then it entailed that they are now vacancies and by elections would be conducted.
“However, we can not go on to say there are vacancies before we get a formal communication from the councillors. We can’t proceed on the basis of a newspaper article because tomorrow, they might turn and say they never said that,” he said.
Gasela said if the councillors and the party’s district leadership have defected in sympathy with Bhebhe then it meant that some provisions of their party’s constitution were flouted, since he was not allowed to participate in any party activities because of his suspension.
“ Bhebhe still remains our party member because he hasn’t been expelled from the party. However if the leadership and the councilors defect because of him then they have flouted some provisions of the party’s constitution because he was suspended from being involved in any part activities.
Bhebhe’s case matter is still pending at the National Disciplinary Committee but the councillors’ meant they are no longer councillors. But we can’t proceed to take action because they said it to the press,” said Gasela.
On Saturday the party’s district executive called a meeting to examine the circumstances surrounding the suspension of the Nkayi South member of the House of Assembly, Mr Abdenico Bhebhe held at Ziminya village in Nkayi.
The move came after the councilors refused to accept a directive by the party to sideline Mr Bhebhe in all party business.
Letters, which were signed by the party’s secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, addressed to the district chairperson and copied to all ward chairpersons and all councillors in the district, indicated that Mr Bhebhe should be sidelined until his suspension is lifted.
“This is to advise that Mr (Abdenico Bhebhe) was suspended on 9 May 2009 by the party’s National Disciplinary Committee from being a member of the party.
Therefore, until such a time that his suspension is lifted or deposed of in whatever manner by the National Disciplinary Committee, he is suspended from all activities to do with the party and should be excluded in all party activities. During his suspension he is treated as if he is not a member of the party.
Please ensure that this information is communicated to all structures in your province, particularly those structures in the district from which Hon Bhebhe comes from,” read the letter dated 14 May.
However, the councillors ignored the directive, saying they would stand by Mr Bhebhe until the leadership comes to explain to them the charges, which are being laid against him.
That prompted the Nkayi District party executive to call for the Saturday meeting, in which Mr Bhebhe was asked to explain to them the circumstances surrounding his suspension.
A resolution was then made after the meeting to cross-floor to MDC-T with the party’s executive and councillors saying there was no legal reason to suspend Mr Bhebhe and accused their leadership of disrespecting them.
Reports say leaders from other party districts whose MPs were suspended were likely to adopt the same move as they had also reportedly ignored the directive to sideline their representatives in Parliament.