TSVANGIRAI GIVING US A RAW DEAL :SMALLER PARTIES | Smaller parties that have signed an electoral pact with MDC-T have complained that they are getting a raw deal in allocation of parliamentary seats, a development that is fuelling divisions within parties and the MDC Alliance.
The alliance has divided the 210 parliamentary seats in the country among the seven political parties in the pact. They have agreed not to field candidates to contest against fellow pact members in their allotted constituencies.
The Chronicle is in possession of a framework document, which is being used to distribute seats among the opposition parties. The document shows that from 210 parliamentary seats, MDC-T will contest in 114 constituencies, while six other parties will be running in the remaining 96 seats.
Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC is expected to contest in 32 constituencies, while Zimbabwe People’s First led by Retired Brigadier–General Agrippa Mutambara should run for 30 seats.
Transform Zimbabwe led by Mr Jacob Ngarivhume is expected to contest in 19 seats, while Mr Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been offered 10. Little-known Movement for Christian Democracy will contest in one constituency.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu declined to comment on the issue of negotiation frameworks saying it would be irresponsible for him to do so. “It will be very irresponsible for me to do that. Whether I’ve seen it or not is neither here nor there because I see so many documents every day of my life. My life is all about reading documents and preparing documents. All I’m saying is that I’m not at liberty to give you the structure of the coalition; this is ongoing business,” said Mr Gutu.
He reiterated his position that coalition negotiations were not conducted through the Press. PDP structures in Matabeleland region are said to be unhappy with the seats that have been allocated to their party as they were allocated only three in the region.
Its members in Bulawayo, on Saturday, protested against joining the MDC Alliance by boycotting the alliance’s launch at White City Stadium where their leader Mr Biti endorsed MDC-T president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership.
The absence of PDP Bulawayo structures confirms divisions in the opposition party over the decision to join hands with Mr Tsvangirai. The PDP structures want to go it alone and last month they started nominating candidates to stand in next year’s elections.
PDP secretary-general Dr Gorden Moyo on Sunday declined to comment on the divisions in his party. “I can’t discuss it with you. It’s an issue that we are dealing with in the party and it is not for public consumption. I’m not going to discuss the issues that we’re currently debating on in the party. We have our platforms where we are discussing the issues,” he said.
In an interview last Friday, PDP’s spokesperson Mr Jacob Mafume said the party will join the MDC Alliance even in the midst of differences within his party.
He said in politics it is impossible to please everyone. “We are not dividing infinite resources, [so] there will be differences of opinion. There will be some who will be upset but unity of the opposition is non-negotiable. We cannot defeat Zanu-PF in splinters. We have to unite under one huge body and that has to happen. People will never be happy. We are not a chorus which is supposed to sing harmoniously at every opportunity,” he said.
Mr Tsvangirai is also facing a rebellion in his party over the alliance. MDC-T deputy president Ms Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo and suspended national organising secretary Mr Abednico Bhebhe snubbed the MDC Alliance launch in Harare and Bulawayo.
Ms Khupe and her allies argue that there is no need for the alliance to cover Matabeleland provinces as the opposition party can win on its own.
During the alliance launch in Bulawayo on Saturday, Mr Tsvangirai accused Ms Khupe and her allies of trying to foment tribal divisions saying leaders should put people first instead of their personal interests.