HARARE, Zimbabwe (PANA)–Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party Nov. 23 expelled a rebel MP, accusing him of deviating from the party’s principles.

Party spokesman Paul Nyathi said Munyaradzi Gwisai, MDC legislator for Highfield constituency in Harare, had been expelled with immediate effect. The move follows a series of incidents in which Mr. Gwisai, who is also a law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, has clashed with the top leadership of the MDC over party policies, particularly the emotive land issue.

A hard-line socialist, Mr. Gwisai has accused MDC leaders of abandoning the downtrodden, who form the core of the party, to embrace the rich such as White farmers whose excess farms the government was taking over to resettle landless peasants.


He also accused MDC leaders of allying with Western donors, to advance their economic and political interests.

Mr. Gwisai was summoned recently before an MDC disciplinary committee over his alleged violations of the party’s principles, but he refused to appear. The MDC has already lost two seats in by-elections since the country’s 2000 legislative polls, and faces similar challenges in a number of constituencies it controlled which have also fallen vacant for other reasons.

Sharp policy differences have emerged in the party after it lost a presidential poll in March, including clashes between the top leadership on whether or not the MDC should continue taking part in elections which it always accuses the ruling party of rigging.