Wednesday, 26 October 2016


NEWLY-elected Norton constituency legislator, Temba Mliswa has become the latest frontier in the continuing internal wrangling within the opposition MDC-T, it has been established.

While the MDC-T, led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, did not officially endorse Mliswa’s candidature in the run-up to the by-election,secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said his party should get credit for the independent candidate’s victory.

“The MDC should actually get credit. We campaigned for Mliswa and our youths were on the ground with him urging people to vote,” he said.

Mwonzora claimed that although the party’s policy was to boycott elections until the introduction of electoral reforms, the MDC-T supported Mliswa to test the waters.
“We also wanted to use the Norton election as a barometer to see whether there has been movement on the part of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) in terms of how it manages elections. We have drawn lessons,” he said without elaborating.

Mwonzora alleged the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) had also tried to soil the MDC-T by circulating fliers urging people not to take part in the poll.

“The fliers were not from the MDC, that was the work of the CIO,” he said.
Mwonzora was referring to fliers that circulated in Norton prior to the election last weekend some written in vernacular instructing MDC-T supporters against voting and actually warning its members there would be disciplinary action against those seen taking part.

However, insiders told NewsDay that different factions within the opposition party had sent out opposing signals.

“The party did not officially endorse Mliswa, but individuals were supporting him. There are dynamics that go beyond the party and are linked to a faction led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zanu PF,” NewsDay heard.

But, Mliswa was adamant the MDC-T, among other parties, had supported his campaign.
“The MDC-T was there on the ground with me. That is why you saw its vice-president, Nelson Chamisa. The People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti also supported me and I am grateful. But Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) did not take a position. ZimPF elder Didymus Mutasa was there as the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) convener, not on behalf of his party,” he said.

Another source said a faction of the MDC-T was behind the fliers.
“In fact, that faction was communicating the real party position, but then politically it was going to be wrong for them to openly oppose when a senior member, such as the VP (Chamisa), claimed had been seen campaigning for Mliswa,” an insider claimed. Newsday


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