MDC-T shelled out more than $50 000 to hire buses to transport party supporters to an MDC-Alliance rally held at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday as part of an elaborate scheme to inflate their leader Mr Nelson Chamisa’s “political stock”, MDC-T’s former spokesman Mr Obert Gutu has said.
It is believed the MDC Alliance has been recycling the same crowd at its rallies in a bid to show popular appeal for Mr Chamisa, who is accused of upstaging former vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe, the party’s only vice president elected at the 2014 congress. Dr Khupe now leads a faction of the MDC-T after she was reportedly fired by Mr Chamisa’s faction for failure to attend party meetings.
Mr Chamisa controversially landed power through the national council — the highest decision-making organ in the MDC-T in between congresses — and national executive at founding leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral wake in February.
Mr Tsvangirai succumbed to colon cancer on February 14 this year.
Mr Gutu, who was expelled from MDC-T on March 23 for alleged intransigence, yesterday told The Herald that he had irrefutable evidence that the opposition party splurged $50 000 to bus supporters to Bulawayo.
“I am a seasoned lawyer and I don’t just say reckless things. I really have facts and figures that they spent $50 000 in order to further their politics of the optics,” said Mr Gutu.
“If there is anyone who thinks that I am misleading them, they are free to legally challenge me,” he said.
He further indicated their faction of the MDC-T, which they claim to be the legitimate MDC-T, has most of the grassroots support.
“We are absolutely optimistic that we have the numbers. Right now, I am currently in Mashonaland East, where we are meeting with an overwhelming number of our supporters,” he said.
The forthcoming harmonised elections, expected in July, Mr Gutu intimated yesterday on microblogging site Twitter, would “confirm who are the fake and who are the real politicians”. He accused the Chamisa-led faction of “self-delusion” and “self-deception”.
Our Bulawayo Bureau reported yesterday that several buses, most of them from Chitungwiza and Harare, poured out thousands of supporters at the Bulawayo venue.
The rally, which was Mr Chamisa’s first in the country’s second-largest city since he assumed the reins, reportedly began on an ugly note with the party’s unruly youths blocking parts of Hyde Park Road with burning tyres, forcing motorists to divert their route and use Khami Road.
The sloshed youths, who also reportedly singing abusive songs, also harassed passing motorists who were not headed for the rally.
Nate Shingi, who posted pictures of buses at Saturday’s rally on his Twitter feed, was brutual with Mr Chamisa for trying to create a “perception and illusion” that he has overwhelming support.
“I was 100 percent when I said Chamisa is a conman giving the perception and illusion that he has support everywhere he goes.
“Bussing people is fraud and the ballot will reward him kindly. This fraudster who evaded congress didn’t think there would be evidence. See buses,” said Shingi.
Last month, Dr Khupe, through her personal assistant Mr Witness Dube, claimed that bussing supporters was part of a calculated plan by the MDC-T to cast Mr Chamisa as a big political figure.
There was also a curious case on March 24 when the MDC Alliance held a rally in Murehwa.
Sources said the Zinara-run Enterprise tollgate, situated at the Shamva turn-off, registered an unusually high number of buses on the route.
Staffers at the tollgate reportedly battled queues that jammed the road, especially in the evening as the buses made their way back from Murehwa centre where the rally was held.