MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube is facing a rebellion as disgruntled party members filed a petition for him to step down, accusing him of causing problems that the party is facing.
The petition, dated February 5, 2016, was signed by 47 members of the party, among them former Bulilima Senator and Higher and Tertiary Education Deputy Minister Lutho Tapela.
The party’s national spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi, has dismissed the petition, saying only five of the signatories were members of the party, while the rest were “probably street kids.”
He said Prof Ncube can only be removed through the party’s congress, not by individual party members.
Through the petition, the party members said they were not happy with Prof Ncube’s reluctance to cooperate with the party’s emissary Esaph Mdlongwa on an issue meant to save the party.
“Formal and informal platforms have been used to bring to the president’s attention that his approach to leadership is causing alarm and despondency in the rank and file of the MDC”, reads the petition.
It was our view that the arrogance of the president has made him dismiss even the most genuine efforts made in the interest of the party.
“We believe the president has caused most of the problems in the party and during his tenure the party membership has continued to dwindle at an alarming rate.”
The party members said Prof Ncube was responsible for the resignation of members holding influential positions in the party, disrespecting and humiliating founding and senior members of the party and being intolerant of other people’s views among other things.
They condemned his “embarrassing conduct” around female members of the party, which they said, created conflict.
“We have had a situation where Bulawayo youth provincial leadership literally stopped functioning,” reads the petition. The province conducted a number of meetings in an effort to resolve problems involving women, whose origins became clearly embarrassing as they exposed the president.
The members also said Prof Ncube was responsible for the rot in the finances and administration of the party, adding that he was inaccessible to members who sought audience with him.
But Chihwayi said: “We have no intention to deliberate on the petition because we’re due for an elective congress anytime this year. The president of the party is a product of the congress and he will never be removed by a few power hungry individuals in the party.
“For those who want to contest in the elections, an opportunity will definitely come. We only recognised five members of the party who signed the petition. The rest are not members of the party. They are probably street kids who were asked to sign the petition.”
Chihwayi dismissed reports by party members that recently sacked acting secretary-general Moses Mzila Ndlovu was sidelined from high level meetings and trips by Prof Ncube. The party’s national standing committee at the weekend removed Mzila Ndlovu from the position over allegations of failure to execute his duties to the satisfaction of the party.