THE two MDC factions have agreed to use three House of Assembly by-elections in Redcliff, Pelandaba-Mpopoma in Bulawayo and Gwanda South to bring back into parliament the Arthur Mutambara-led camp’s bigwigs Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube and Paul Themba Nyathi.
Sibanda is the Mutambara faction’s vice-president, Ncube secretary-general and Nyathi is the secretary of elections.
Sources in both factions, which entered into a parliamentary coalition last week, told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the two MDCs have agreed to field the three opposition leaders in by-elections to be held at a date to be proclaimed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
This, the sources said, would be done to cement the factions’ coalition agreement.
“Ncube will now stand for the unified MDC in Redcliff while Sibanda will contest in Pelandaba-Mpopoma and Nyathi will represent the alliance in Gwanda South,” one of the sources said.
Sibanda, Ncube and Nyathi contested in the March 29 House of Assembly elections in Bulawayo constituencies and lost to MDC-Tsvangirai candidates.
Parliamentary elections in the three constituencies failed to take place after the death of the contesting candidates.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-Tsvangirai spokesperson, yesterday said the two factions would field a single candidate in the three by-elections in line with their coalition agreement.
“The MDC as a united front will field candidates in the Redcliff, Gwanda and Pelandaba-Mpopoma by-elections,” he said.
Chamisa could neither confirm nor deny that Sibanda, Ncube and Nyathi would represent both camps in the by-elections.
However, it emerged this week that there has been grumbling in both factions over the parliamentary coalition.
The sources said senior members of the MDC factions accused Mutambara and Tsvangirai of signing the agreement brokered by business magnate Strive Masiyiwa in South Africa without consulting their national councils.
According to the factions’ coalition, the parties acknowledged that they were two separate formations, but for purposes of consummating the alliance agreed to vote as one in parliament.
The parties also agreed to have one chief whip and caucus; to vote together in parliament; to elect a Speaker of Parliament nominated by the MDC-Tsvangirai camp and a deputy speaker from MDC-Mutambara wing.
None of the parties that contested the March elections was able to win an absolute majority in parliament on its own, hence the cooperation of the two MDC factions.
By Lucia Makamure