THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC won parliament’s speaker position this week after it struck a deal in Botswana with rebellious members of the smaller faction led by Arthur Mutambara.
The deal allegedly scuttled an agreement between Zanu PF and Mutambara and his secretary- general Welshman Ncube to land influential posts in President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Impeccable sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that Tsvangirai, his vice-president Thokozani Khupe and national chairperson Lovemore Moyo met nine MPs from the Mutambara camp soon after the Sadc summit and persuaded them to vote in their favour for the parliamentary speaker in return for positions and other incentives.
The nine legislators from the Mutambara faction were Edward Mkhosi (Mangwe West), Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane), Nomalanga Mzilikazi Khumalo
(Mzingwane), Siyabonga Malandu Ncube (Insiza North), Norman Mpofu (Mangwe East), Maxwell Dube (Tsholotsho South), Patrick Dube (Gwanda North) and Thandeko Mkandla (Gwanda South).
Moses Mzila Ndlovu of Bulilima constituency did not attend the meeting.
The meeting took place a week after Sadc heads of government and states recommended that Mugabe could reconvene parliament.
The sources said the MPs from Mutambara’s camp agreed during the Botswana meeting to vote for Moyo and they in turn asked the Tsvangirai faction to back them and elect Khumalo as deputy speaker.
“An agreement was reached in Botswana and the MPs from Mutambara were promised positions and other incentives if they voted for Moyo,” one of the sources said.
During the election of the speaker on Monday, Moyo won against Paul Themba Nyathi who was co-sponsored by Mutambara’s MDC and Zanu PF. Khumalo was unanimously elected deputy speaker.
But the spokesperson of the MDC-Mutambara, Edwin Mushoriwa, in a congratulatory statement, alleged that a Zanu PF group working with the party’s Nkayi MP and cabinet minister Sithembiso Nyoni voted for Moyo. Nyoni is the mother-in-law of Moyo.
“The outcome of this election clearly shows that parliamentarians voted across party-lines. We are aware that Zanu PF parliamentarians, particularly the Sithembiso Nyoni groups, were canvassing and voted for Lovemore Moyo. We are more than certain that our MPs voted for our candidate.”
However, Nyoni yesterday charged that the claims were mischievous and malicious and said she would not lose sleep over them.
By Constantine Chimakure/Loughty Dube