Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Factional battles split MDC again

by Staff reporter
21 Jan 2022 at 05:30hrs | Views
FACTIONAL fights in the troubled MDC peaked yesterday with the suspension of Dr Thokozani Khupe from a faction led by Mr Douglas Mwonzora over allegations of working with Mr Nelson Chamisa, resulting in yet another split in the troubled opposition.

Although an official statement from the main opposition party said investigations are pending over the fate of Dr Khupe, insiders in the MDC said at the heart of the current drama are the former deputy prime minister's alleged shenanigans in sponsoring a group of councillors allegedly aligned to the MDC-Alliance led by Mr Chamisa.

This comes as Dr Khupe last year dragged her counterparts, including Mr Mwonzora, to the High Court seeking an interdict to stop them from recalling councillors from Chitungwiza and Gweru on the basis that they were consorting with a competing opposition party or were aligned to her.

Dr Khupe was handed her suspension letter on Monday, but details of the acrimonious fallout, that could see the opposition splitting again, emerged only yesterday after Mr Mwonzora got wind that her deputy was about to pull a fast one on him today at a press conference in Bulawayo.

"The MDC-T wishes to advise that the vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe has been suspended. A letter dated January 12 was personally delivered to Dr Khupe and her legal team.

"The suspension was with immediate effect pending investigations into various allegations levelled against her," read the letter in part, however without specifying the charges.

"Investigations are being conducted by a team led by the party's arbiter-general. The suspension is in line with the party's constitution and is as a result of certain issues that arose. Once the said issues are investigated and fully resolved, the party will communicate such," MDC spokesperson Mr Witness Dube said.

But before the ink had dried, Dr Khupe also hit back announcing that Mr Mwonzora was no longer the leader of the MDC-T since he is now the leader of the MDC-Alliance.

Through her spokesperson Mr Ntandoyenkosi Ndlovu, Dr Khupe said Mr Mwonzora has neither legal nor moral authority to suspend her from the MDC-T because he, on January 3 wrote a letter to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) advising them that he had joined the MDC Alliance.

"We called for a press conference tomorrow (today) and were surprised to learn of the purported suspension letter. However, our position is very clear, we are saying that Douglas Mwonzora has no moral or legal grounds to recall or suspend Dr Khupe because he wrote to Zec recently claiming that he is now a member of the MDC-Alliance and our position as the MDC-T is that once a member joins another party, he automatically expels himself.

"Since Dr Khupe was second in command, she automatically takes over the leadership of the MDC-T and tomorrow, (today) she will advise the nation on the way forward," said Mr Ndlovu.

But the "issues" that Mr Dube alleged in his statement turn out to be distrust, seeds of which were planted by Dr Khupe's court application last December. A senior party official said the suspended MDC vice president went against the party's constitution, which prohibits members from taking internal party issues to the courts.

"If you see a tortoise on a lamppost you should know that there is someone who put it there. She is the person who was behind the court cases including the case of perjury where Gweru mayor (MDC Alliance)reported Mr Mwonzora and party secretary-general Hon Paurina Mpariwa to the police for allegedly lying under oath," said the insider.

The insiders added that despite admonishment from her colleagues Khupe plodded on, amid claims that she has been hobnobbing with Mr Chamisa and through his proxies in the form of Chitungwiza mayor Lovemore Maiko and his Gweru counterpart Mr Josiah Makumbe.

"Dr Khupe is a very senior member of the party who can call for dialogue with her counterparts anytime, but she did not take that route knowing that there is a clear provision that prohibits anyone from taking the party to the courts.

"This was what she was guilty of in 2018 and she is at it again. It's shocking by the way she was treated by Chamisa that she is now working with him. This is all because she cannot stomach defeat, she never forgave Mwonzora for her loss in the extraordinary congress," said another official.

Last year, Dr Khupe lost the race to lead the country's main opposition led by Mr Mwonzora, but as a face-saver, she was appointed the party's first president. However, the relationship has always been tenuous.

The dog-eat-dog in the MDC, which has a history-laden with splits, comes just a few months before the country goes for litmus by-elections which are a precursor to the watershed 2023 elections.

Source - The Herald
More on: #MDC, #Mwonzora, #Khupe