Small MDC Faction Drops Out Of Speaker's Race

Harare, March 21, 2011 – Welshman Ncube’s smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has resolved not to contest the controversial vacant post of Speaker of the House of Assembly.\r\n

The Supreme Court two weeks ago declared the post vacant which for the past two years has been held by Morgan Tsvangirai’s (MDC -T) national chairman Lovemore Ncube, vacant, citing irregularities in the manner his election was held in 2008.

The Supreme Court ruling sparked a jostle from Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations with reports that President Robert Mugabe’s party wants to field its national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, Tsvangirai’s MDC, the dethroned Moyo while Ncube’s MDC had suggested Paul Themba Nyathi, the party’s director of elections.

But insiders of the smaller MDC faction told Radio VOP on Monday it had been infamously resolved to stay away from the election in which the party was viewed as the king-maker for the post.

Kuraone Chihwayi, the deputy spokesman for the small MDC faction confirmed to Radio VOP on Monday that the party had decided over the weekend not to field a candidate for the position of Speaker of Parliament.

“That position is correct,” said Chihwayi. “The party has decided to make a strategic retreat in as far as the contest for speakership is concerned. The decision was reached after wide internal consultations,” he said, adding that his party had some more serious political business to pursue than to fight for speakership.

“We have decided to leave the issue of speakership to MDC T and Zanu (PF) to fight for the position although we had presented a candidate who commands respect from both MDC-T and Zanu (PF). We are not partnering anyone in this contest.”

Zanu (PF) and the MDC-T are understood to be tied at 96-96 members each, leaving the parties to fight for support from the seven legislators from the small MDC faction.

It is understood the MDC T has managed to cajole at least three of the MDC N law-makers to vote for the former speaker when elections for the post are called, possibly on Tuesday.