Ncube savages rebel MPs as enemies within

THREE rebel MPs expelled by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Arthur Mutambara were “an enemy within” and the party is stronger without them, secretary general Welshman Ncube said on Thursday.

“What is important for the time being is that we as a party must move forward together, we must remain united,” Ncube told a UK based online news outlet in an interview, two days after the party expelled Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) for misconduct.

Ncube said the three MPs had “abandoned any pretence that the party exists in the form that it was constituted at the party’s congress”, and were openly in courtship with the rival MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Ncube said: “You have a group of people who for the last couple of months have refused to recognise the authority of the national council of the party. Beginning with the resolution to put forward Paul Themba Nyathi as a candidate [for Speaker of Parliament] … they have consistently behaved as if the national council is not the supreme decision making organ of the party, as if they themselves have become the party by virtue of simply winning the parliamentary seats in their constituencies.

“They have been disrespectful of the elected officials of the party, elected at congress … but all of this did not result in them being disciplined at all.

“The disciplinary committee acted against them only when they engaged in a systematic destruction of the party structures in their constituencies through a programme of going around telling structures that the party had amalgamated and therefore it was necessary to integrate our structures with those of MDC-T.

“In Nkayi, Bubi-Umguza and Bulilima East they were systematically abolishing the party and taking its organs into MDC-T and saying there was now only one MDC led by Tsvangirai. We received repeated complaints from elected party officers in those districts that this is what was happening. We would go and deal with it there, but it would continue.

“We called them before the disciplinary committee, it was only then that they were charged with misconduct. Clearly, therefore, when a party gets rid of people who are now agents of another party, who are daily recruiting from our members for another party, surely we can only be stronger by getting rid of the enemy within.” 

Ncube said even after they had been charged with misconduct, the three MPs “saw nothing wrong in holding meetings in their constituencies and inviting leaders of another party to address our supporters”, forcing the hand of the disciplinary committee whose hearings they boycotted.

He added: “It is clear these people were only our members in name only, but in effect and in practise, they are members of another party. You really need to be daft to think that by getting rid of such people, the party is now weaker.

“Imagine you are a football team and two of your players are passing the ball to your opponents each time they have possession. Is it not better to play with the nine men who want to fight for the cause than 11 disunited men?”

Ncube said while the decision to expel the MPs was risky, with a real danger of losing the by-elections, “party cohesion could not be sacrificed in the name of political expediency”.

“Whether we win those seats is irrelevant, compared to keeping the party united and pulling in the same direction. Fear of losing those seats cannot keep us in partnership with the enemy within,” Ncube said.

With a September 15 power sharing agreement preventing Tsvangirai’s MDC and Zanu PF from fielding candidates in the by-elections whenever they are held, the expelled MPs can contest as independents or members of other parties.

Mutambara’s MDC now has seven MPs in the House of Assembly and six Senators in the Senate.