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'Khupe to form another MDC splinter' - WhatsApp message goes viral

by Staff Reporter
09 Aug 2017 at 10:21hrs | Views
THE MDC-T is on the verge of splitting once again after leaders in Matabeleland allegedly resolved to go it alone if party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai continued to belittle them.

Simmering tensions came to a head on Sunday after Mr Tsvangirai allegedly hired thugs to assault his lieutenants in the region for snubbing Saturday's launch of the MDC Alliance by Mr Tsvangirai in Harare.

The thugs bashed one of the party's three deputy presidents Ms Thokozani Khupe, the national organising secretary Mr Abednico Bhebhe and the national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo among other officials on Sunday.

The officials had convened a meeting, allegedly to map the way forward after Mr Tsvangirai allegedly ignored their input in coalition talks.

Matabeleland is crucial in the MDC Alliance strategy as it has been a source of most of the MDC-T votes in national elections. Without it, party members have said the coalition does not stand a chance against Zanu-PF.

A WhatsApp message circulating on social media among the MDC-T supporters yesterday, indicated Ms Khupe was going to form a splinter party, deputised by Mr Moyo and Mr Bhebhe.

". . . to form own party and appoint Khuphe as president, Lovemore and Bhebhe as deputies. The three leaders to urgently engage the grass root with this message. All from the region to boycott national council meetings. NB we went to the meeting without knowing the agenda. This is what transpired at the meeting," read some of the resolutions allegedly arrived at, at a meeting the three convened in Bulawayo on Sunday, after the brutal assault.

Party insiders yesterday insisted the looming split was real because Mr Tsvangirai had repeatedly sidelined party leaders in Matabeleland and seemed bent on eventually easing them out of the MDC-T.

"The alliance is meant to disadvantage and politically condemn the region and its leaders by replacing them with (MDC leader Professor) Welshman (Ncube)," further read alleged minutes from the meeting.

Party members who spoke on condition of anonymity said Mr Tsvangirai should be persuaded to amend the conditions of the coalition agreement and revoke sections that gave Prof Ncube power to field candidates unopposed by the MDC-T in some constituencies in the region.

They said leaders in Matabeleland must not recognise the coalition agreement in its present form but should field candidates of their own to contest against Prof Ncube, if Mr Tsvangirai remained obstinate.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Bhebhe denied that they were planning to form a splinter party.

He said although they made resolutions on Sunday, they have nothing to do with leaving the party.

On Sunday, Mr Bhebhe accused Mr Tsvangirai of hiring the thugs that caused mayhem on Sunday.

"We are a democratic party and democracy should prevail. We are all shocked somebody sent a team from Harare to come and beat us up. That team came in the name of the party president," he said then.

Mr Bhebhe said they were pro-alliance but it does make sense for the party to be making a coalition with people who have been part of the MDC-T in previous instances.

Mr Bhebhe said it will be better for the MDC-T to form alliances with other parties who are likely to bring new members to the party. "It's better to bring [Joice] Mujuru who is going to bring people who were not in the MDC previously. It's better to join with ZimPF as they can bring people from Zanu-PF. We should have an alliance that should boost the party instead of having an alliance to accommodate other politicians," said Mr Bhebhe.

Mr Moyo said as the party leadership, they will stay focused and prepare for next year's elections.

He said it was unfortunate that some members of the party were concentrating on fighting and destroying it at such a critical time. "This was an important meeting for the party and as usual we wanted to discuss issues to do with coalition and update our leadership on the decision made on July 28, 2017, by the leadership. "It was important that as leadership we explain the coalition between our party and other opposition parties. We also wanted legal opinion on the implications of the entire document," said Mr Moyo.

He refused to comment on suggestions that the rowdy youths who attacked them were sent by Mr Tsvangirai but confirmed they came from Harare.

"I don't know who sent them but they mentioned that they were from Harare. They stormed into the boardroom where we were having our meeting and ordered us to disperse because our meeting was unsanctioned.

"This surprised us because it was a constitutional meeting, with party leaders attending," said Mr Moyo.

The party's spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu quashed the reports about the split, saying they were just rumours.

He added that investigations were underway to establish the reasons for the violent attacks. "I don't want to dignify rumours. It's not true and it's not worth discussing. We condemn the violent attacks that occurred in Bulawayo.

"Internal investigations are underway and due process will be followed once they're complete. Those responsible for the violence will be dealt with appropriately through the party's disciplinary structures," said Mr Gutu.

The MDC has a long history of splitting each time members disagree.

MDC split on October 12, 2005 in the wake of severe differences over participation in Senate elections with Mr Tsvangirai, who was pressuring for a boycott, leading what was then called the anti-senate faction, while Mr Gibson Sibanda, now late, led the pro-Senate faction.

The anti-Senate faction was to become present day MDC-T while the pro-Senate faction is the MDC led by Prof Ncube, which further split to spawn MDC99 which was led by Mr Job Sikhala before he later joined MDC-T.

There was a further split in 2014.

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