BULAWAYO City councillors aligned to MDC-Renewal are reportedly plotting a return to rival MDC-T in protest over the weekend’s elections that saw councillor Collet Ndlovu losing.

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Party sources yesterday said senior members were considering a return to MDC-T, claiming divisions within MDC-Renewal were widening.

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They said “MDC-Renewal will die in its infancy”. Ndlovu, who was the first acting provincial chairman during the party’s formative stages last year, lost to Amen Mpofu on Sunday.

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Ndlovu, backed by Elton Mangoma, was tipped to land the post, while Mpofu had the support of chairman Samuel Sipepa Nkomo.

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But disgruntled members said the elections were rigged. They felt Ndlovu deserved the post, as he “built the structures during his reign as acting chairman”.

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“MDC-Renewal will die in its infancy and that would be blamed on Sipepa Nkomo,” a party member said.

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“He is importing divisive tendencies from MDC-T and the party is in a confused state.”

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The party member, speaking in strict confidence, accused Nkomo of rigging the election in Mpofu’s favour.

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“He engineered the rigging of Sunday’s elections in favour of Mpofu,” he said. “So, party members, including councillors, are seriously considering rejoining MDC-T. Therefore, a firm decision will be announced this week.”

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Sources said election presiding officer Lucia Matibenga, who is Nkomo’s deputy, was “unknowingly used to destroy party structures”.

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Bulawayo is the first province to hold elections. However, provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu yesterday rubbished rigging claims, adding that the party could not stand in the way of members who chose to move to other political parties. He said the elections were conducted in a free environment.

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“The elections were very free, fair and credible and, therefore, we are surprised by such allegations,” Ndlovu said.

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“Free and fair elections are not necessarily when my favourite candidate wins, but are the ones in which people express themselves freely, like what happened on Sunday.”

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“It is a pity that the national chairman (Nkomo) is blamed, when he never conducted any elections, but Matibenga did it in the presence of national organiser Last Maengahama and his deputy Reggie Moyo.”

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Ndlovu said there was freedom of association and if some members wanted to return to MDC-T, MDC-Renewal would not stand in their way.

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“With regard to returning to MDC-T there is nothing really the party can do, as everyone is free to belong to an organisation of his or her choice, as enshrined in our Constitution,” he said.