Recently, five legislators reportedly ditched Ncube’s faction joining the one loyal to Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. The move came hardly a day after at least 20 Zanu PF and MDC-T legislators walked out of Parliament protesting against Ncube’s expulsion of Deputy Speaker Nomalanga Khumalo from MDC.
Khumalo has since been named Mutambara’s deputy. Other legislators who defected are Tsholotsho South MP, Maxwell Dube, Gwanda North’s Thandeko Mnkandla, Umzingwane Senator Dalimuzi Khumalo and Lupane Senator Dalimuzi Khumalo.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera believes the latest defections mark the political demise of the Ncube formation as it no longer commands significant support in Parliament and Matabeleland region where the party used to have pockets of followers.
“All these defections will further disillusion the small portion of Matabeleland which still supports the faction,” said Mangongera. “The Ncube formation is only in existence at the present moment because elections are still to be held. The next elections will seal their fate.”
Mangongera said the MDC does not enjoy the status of Kingmaker anymore as the formation no longer holds the balance of power in Parliament.
“We have not seen the Ncube faction playing the balancing act,” he said.
Defections are nothing but farce
Social commentator and economic rights activist, Hopewell Gumbo said the defections were nothing to write home about. Gumbo said unless the coalition government was extended, both the Ncube and Mutambara factions could disappear from the mainstream political scene.
“After the elections, these two factions may continue to exist, but they will only be able to waffle from the shadows and sidelines,” he said. Political Scientist Dr Ibbo Mandaza said it was difficult to tell whether Ncube’s formation would survive beyond elections, as indications on the ground were that polls are still far from being held.
“What is clear is that the defections exacerbates divisions within the formation and suggest that the party will struggle to remain relevant,” he said.
Mandaza however said Mutambara should not think that the defections have given him a political lifeline as the courts were still to decide on his legitimacy.
Professor Ncube’s MDC formation have applied to the High Court to have Mutambara barred from masquerading as its president. Repeated efforts to get a comment from Ncube were fruitless.
But MDC deputy spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi insisted that the Ncube formation was still intact. “The MDC is a serious political party working day and night to address bread and butter issues for the people of Zimbabwe. We have some serious business to pursue than to worry about a group of ambitious, greedy and power-hungry individuals.”
Chihwayi said the purported defections had no effect on the party programmes which were going ahead in readiness for possible elections next year.
“We are still Kingmakers because the MDC is still in government where the party is influencing policy and development,” he said.
On the issue of the Deputy Speaker, he alleged that Khumalo expelled herself from the party as she was no longer active in MDC after failing to attend executive meetings, including programmes in her own Umzingwane constituency. Khumalo however told journalists that she left the party on her own.
MDC-T, MDC, MDC-M AND MDC 99
In Zimbabwe’s hung parliament, the MDC was supposed to have the sway votes with the 10 seats it won in the House of Assembly in the 2008 elections.
However, the formation expelled three MP’s: Abednico Bhebhe of Nkayi South, Njabuliso Mguni of Lupane East and Norman Mpofu of Bulilima East, accusing them of allegedly bringing the party into disrepute.
With the latest defections, the Ncube faction is now left with three elected senators and three house of assembly members, with the remaining MDC legislators including Ncube and secretary-general, Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga being unelected representatives.
There are currently four MDCs in the country. There is MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Ncube’s MDC and MDC99 led by Job Sikhala and Mutambara’s breakaway MDC.