THE rift among partners in the MDC Alliance over sharing of parliamentary seats has reportedly widened in Bulawayo with People’s Democratic Party (PDP) deputy president Kucaca Phulu raising alarm bells with MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa-led and the party’s provincial chairperson Gift Banda.
Both parties are members of the MDC Alliance, but divisions have arisen over the sharing of seats with the MDC-T reportedly elbowing out smaller parties in most parts of the country.
According to sources, PDP was initially allocated Nkulumane where Phulu was the candidate while the party still has to choose a candidate for Pumula and six ward councillors.
On May 21, Phulu wrote to Banda saying besides being allocated Nkulumane and Pumula parliamentary slots, the PDP was also entitled to six wards equivalent to the number of wards in these constituencies.
“According to our briefing, seats that were agreed by the negotiators for PDP are Nketa ward 24, Bulawayo East ward 4, Bulawayo South ward 6, Makokoba ward 8, Mpopoma ward 13, and Luveve ward 15. I am the point person to conduct all negotiations on behalf of the PDP to effect the local arrangement,” he said.
He later wrote another letter, saying: “I refer to my previous correspondence which was delivered to you. I am given to understand that you are unaware of the need to have a local arrangement regarding the council seats. In that case, I hereby notify you that the PDP will be fielding council candidates in Nketa ward, Bulawayo East and South, Makokoba, Mpopoma and Luveve.
“It is my understanding that the administrative modalities of the alliance will take our sincere intentions into account.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Banda said: “Is it not that we have a big banner called MDC Alliance, and partners in the alliance have negotiators at national level? I am not aware that they have been given those seats and who gave them. As a province, we have no power to refuse with seats as long as the national negotiators have agreed on that. We are implementers and we cannot refuse with seats if national negotiators gave them. At the moment, I cannot say which wards they have been given because nothing has been communicated to me by national negotiators.
Banda said all the partners in the alliance had their own internal processes, but when the parties agree that a certain party should have a candidate in a ward or constituency, other parties would withdraw theirs to pave way for the partner’s candidate.