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MDC-T official receives death threats

by Staff Reporter
12 Jan 2013 at 20:51hrs | 4057 Views
THE battle for Makokoba district in Bulawayo by rival MDC-T factions has turned ugly with reports that the district chairperson, Councillor James Sithole, received death threats from anonymous elements within the party who are allegedly aligned to a rival faction.

Clr Sithole is reportedly Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe's right hand man in the district as she battles it out with elements believed to belong to rival Senator Matson Hlalo allegedly eyeing       the Makokoba seat in the House of Assembly.

This comes amid revelations that Senator Hlalo has re-engaged former party members who had defected to the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC, allegedly on his behest in protest of DPM Khupe's leadership.

These former members are now causing a reign of terror in the district where they are allegedly frustrating any projects that are spearheaded by DPM Khupe or by Clr Sithole.

The party's provincial leadership is reportedly now in a quandary on how to deal with warring factions in the district with reports that the Hlalo faction has refused to work under the district's leadership, which is controlled by DPM Khupe.

Clr Sithole has reportedly been receiving death threats from anonymous callers who warn him not to challenge the "ascendency" of Senator Hlalo, the latest being last Monday after he had convened a meeting to address  problems faced in the district.

According to sources close to the councillor, the callers allegedly called him using a private number, warning him to "back off" or risk "disappearing".

"In one of the calls, the caller told the councillor that he should stop trying to challenge Senator Hlalo as they would make him disappear because they had the capability and power to do as they will in the province," said the source.

However, contacted for comment Clr Sithole could not confirm or deny the alleged threats referring all questions to the party's provincial spokesperson.

It is understood the party has issued a threat to all its members not to speak to the media or risk facing disciplinary action.

"According to party regulations, I am not mandated to talk to you guys, please contact our provincial spokesperson.

"I am the district chairperson and I am working in all the two wards, if anyone is alleging there is some form of tension in the district, it is just a case of mere misunderstandings that can easily be resolved," said Clr Sithole.

Contacted for comment Senator Hlalo, however, said he was not in a position to comment on the matter. "I do not talk to you guys, thank you for calling," he said before hanging up his mobile phone.

The party's provincial spokesperson Mr Mandla Sibanda said they were not yet in a position to declare the problems in Makokoba as a special case as it could be just a matter of minor misunderstandings.

"Problems are everywhere but all I can assure you is that for now we are not yet going to say the problems in Makokoba are special case, besides I am of the view that these so-called problems are just a mere invention of the mind.

"As a province, we will continue with our stance of dealing with the problems as and when they arise, so until we get an official report of these alleged factional warfares, we will not panic at all," said Mr Sibanda.

The party's national organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa, however, downplayed the alleged squabbles in Makokoba saying they were not going to be moved by tensions that were being             created in the media. "There is nothing like that, all those squabbles are a creation of the media, we won't lose sleep about something we know has no basis at all," said Mr Chamisa.

According to party sources, tensions had now reached fever pitch in the district and the province was now in panic mode to resolve the clashes ahead of this year's pending general elections.

"The district has been divided according  to the two wards, with Ward Seven being a Khupe stronghold while Ward Eight is aligned to Senator Hlalo. Those in Ward Eight have totally refused to recognise the district chairperson Clr Sithole's leadership. This has resulted in the creation of a parallel structure meant to counter the district leadership.

"These clashes have resulted in the provincial leadership mooting means of tackling the matter without attracting the possible intervention of the national executive as they risk being labelled as failures," said the party source.

Last Sunday, the warring factions almost came to blows during the party's input distribution scheme with the Hlalo faction reportedly refusing to have their share of the inputs handed over to the district chairperson Clr Sithole.

Makokoba district has been riddled with factionalism allegations since the run-up to the party's congress.

During the congress, Ms Khumalo challenged DPM Khupe for the party's vice-presidency while Senator Hlalo was involved in a bitter battle with provicnial chairman Mr Gorden Moyo to be the party's provincial chairperson.

Last year, over 1 000 of the party's members drawn from Makokoba constituency signed a petition to pass a vote of no confidence against Sen Hlalo and possibly have him expelled from the party. In a bid to address the internal conflicts, the party also ordered DPM Khupe to submit a report on the alleged infighting within her constituency.

The party's deputy national organising secretary Mr Abednico Bhebhe at one point was dispatched to address the problems in the province. A few months ago, Senator Hlalo and Ward 8 councillor, Clr Mackenzie Sibanda, boycotted a district annual review meeting that they were meant to address together with DPM Khupe and Clr Sithole.


Source - SN
More on: MDC-T

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