Sikhala, the former legislator for St Mary’s, has declared himself the new president of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-M), throwing the opposition party into confusion.

Sources said Job Sikhala and others are gaining momentum winning hearts and minds of party supporters, leaving the embattled party President and Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube, the Secretary General and a handful of sidekicks clinging to a copy of the party constitution and the GPA.  

Siyabonga Ncube, the MDC MP for Insiza in Matebeleland South province had been selected by his party for the ambassadorial job, to make room for Vice President Gibson Sibanda to contest his seat.

Sibanda ceased to be a Member of Parliament following his failure to secure a Parliamentary seat within the constitutionally-stipulated three months. But he still continues to serve as Minister of National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, courtesy of the three principals to the Global Political Agreement.

Reliably sources informed that five nominees, four from MDC-T and one from MDC-M, on Monday began an intensive three month course on diplomacy, run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Crowne Plaza hotel.

Reportedly, the Insiza MP attended the welcoming session on Monday but has not been seen since. Contacted for comment the MP said; “I don’t know anything about that, but you can confirm with Parliament that I’ve been attending parliamentary portfolio committee meetings since Tuesday. I think it’s another Ncube they’re talking about.”

But Frank Chamunorwa, a senior official from the Mutambara camp said they were surprised to hear that Ncube has not been attending the diplomatic course.

“No one from the party was aware that he’s not been attending the course, not even the party Presidency. We nominated him to make room for our Vice-President to contest his seat, so it is news to us that he has disappeared,” Chamunorwa said.

There are reports in Harare that Ncube could have temporarily withdrawn from the course to concentrate on obtaining a vehicle under a scheme organised for parliamentarians.

“We’ve seen him since Monday running around in Harare trying to obtain a vehicle for his own use through a scheme that allows MPs to buy vehicles on loan from dealers in the capital,” one MP told us.
While Ncube has gone AWOL, his colleagues from the MDC-T have been attending the course.

The four are Hebson Makuvise who is the Ambassador designate to Germany and was the MDC’s chief representative to London. The other three are Jacqueline Zwambila, a former advisor to Tsvangirai and last year’s MDC losing parliamentary candidate for Chegutu. She will be posted to Australia.

Another party stalwart, Hilda Mafudze, the former MDC MP for Manyame constituency, is the country’s next ambassador to Sudan, while little known Khumbulani Mabed from Bulawayo is set for a posting in Nigeria. Additional reporting by SW Radio Africa.