Biti outpaces rivals for control of Bulawayo

Political Reporter

As the MDC Alliance is set to dissolve its Bulawayo provincial structures and replace it with a four member interim committee, that party’s co vice president, Tendai Biti, has lined his ally Kucaca Phulu to be the new interim chairperson.

A highly placed source confided in this publication that an  interim committee was set to be unveiled soon to replace the James Sithole led executive in order to thwart factional fights that were bedeviling the province. However, Biti has convinced other leaders that the right person to lead Bulawayo and heal factional wars was lawyer and party’s Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Phulu, who was once a member of Biti’ People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“The Commission of Inquiry led by (Lynnette) Karenyi Kore has recommended that the entire provincial structure be dissolved and a four member committee be appointed to lead the province until the next elections on interim basis. This recommendation now awaits approval by the National Council and we hope that the interim committee would be officially unveiled before end of this week,” said the source.

The source revealed that the proposed members of the interim committee are Phulu, Bulawayo Central legislator Nicola Watson, Pastor Obert Manduna and recalled proportional legislator for Bulawayo, Dorcas Sibanda.

According to the source, some MDC Alliance in Bulawayo are already casting aspersions on the proposed interim structure as they have some reservations on Phulu and Sibanda who are viewed with suspicion within that party.

“The majority of members do not want Phulu to be the interim chairperson considering that he was once a member of the PDP. He is mafikizolo and a divisive character. We prefer former chairperson Matson Hlalo to lead us because we doubt Phulu’s loyalty to president (Nelson) Chamisa,” said the source.

Hlalo, who is being backed by the Thabitha Khumalo led faction, is seen as a better option as he had successfully led the province in the past than Phulu who is seen as Biti’s blue eyed boy and a member of the Maruva cabal that wants to dethrone Chamisa.

The source further said that the other proposed member of the committee, Sibanda, should not be near the leadership reigns as she had declared her loyalty to the rival MDC T.  

“Sibanda is an MDC T sympathizer and Sithole’s confidante. We want neutral people to be in the interim committee. Watson and Manduna are better devils as they are more of unifiers and mature people than Sibanda and Phulu. Again, Watson appeals to the white community and has links to donors while Manduna has tried to maintain peace in the province by urging warring factions to bury their hatchets for the good of the party. The leaders should revise their decision on Phulu and Sibanda as their appointment will plunge the province into worse chaos,” said the source. 

Efforts to get a comment from provincial spokesperson, Swirthern Chiroodza were futile as his mobile was not reachable.