Delegates from Mashonaland threaten to boycott MDC-M congress

HARARE – Sharp differences have surfaced in the MDC-M over the party’s decision to sideline incumbent President Arthur Mutambara from seeking re-election.\r\n

The party’s hardliners from the three Mashonaland provinces have declared that the move against Mutambara is a ‘coup’ and are reportedly going to revolt during the congress.

Delegates from the southern region, backed by some of the party’s influential leaders, have however staunchly pushed for party Secretary General Welshman Ncube to take over, describing last minute manoeuvres to derail the congress as “the work of enemies.”

Panic has set in within the party after some delegates issued a threat to disrupt or boycott the weekend congress because of “unresolved issues.”

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said on Tuesday the simmering disgruntlements are perceived as a potential ‘flash point’ needing correction, or there would be ‘open warfare’ during the congress.

“The generality of the delegates feel they want to know how Arthur Mutambara was sidelined against standing for the presidency, to a point where he threw in the towel weeks before the congress. Many of these delegates see it as a coup against Mutambara and they are not comfortable with that,” Muchemwa said.

Despite being battered and buffeted by criticism from within and outside his party, Mutambara seems to have found, at the last minute, delegates wishing to fight in his corner.

Delegates from Masvingo province have refused to nominate Ncube, accusing him of blocking Mutambara from standing again. This move seems to have had a domino effect, forcing some delegates from Mashonaland to speak out, with just three days to go before the congress.

But a pro-Ncube supporter dismissed attempts to disrupt the congress as wishful thinking, boasting that nothing at this late hour will prevent the former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer from his ‘coronation’ on Saturday.

“I think this talk of trying to force Mutambara’s issue on the agenda at the congress is coming from desperate people who are being hoodwinked into believing he can do a Houdini and bounce back as president. The man has simply lost the support and trust of many of the party supporters,” an MDC-M official said.

The official added: “If Mutambara wants to embarrass himself let him dare stand against Ncube and see how he would be trounced in an election.”

Mutambara will only know if his position as Deputy Prime Minister in the unity government is secure after the election of a new standing committee on Saturday.

Ncube, the frontrunner to take over the party leadership told SW Radio Africa on Monday the deployment of party cadres in government is a matter which is determined by the standing