MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe has urged party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to defer the planned second launch of the MDC Alliance in Bulawayo on Saturday and organise an urgent meeting with his top officials in the region to iron out their differences over the contentious coalition deal.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Khupe, national chairperson Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe, in a letter to Tsvangirai dated August 21, said the opposition leader should climb down from his high pedestal, postpone the launch and address their concerns first.
They argued Tsvangirai should embrace the “spirit of devolution” and listen to their reservations over the MDC Alliance agreement.
“We accordingly suggest and request that you urgently have a dialogue with the leadership as well as the membership to all affected areas in the spirit of devolution of power as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We, accordingly, implore you to provide the structures with the detailed explanation on the contents of the alliance agreement,” the letter by the three read in part.
“We further suggest that the launch of the alliance agreement in Bulawayo scheduled for September 2, 2017 be suspended pending, and to allow consultations with the leadership and structures. The launch can subsequently be made after dialogue, consultations and concurrence of the leadership on the signed agreement.”
But MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday said the Saturday programme would go ahead as scheduled.
“As far as I know, the launch of the MDC Alliance is going ahead at White City Stadium this Saturday. It’s all systems go and preparations are at an advanced stage,” he said.
“Of course, negotiations are not going to take place in the media. We are finding each other. Remember, we are seasoned democrats.
“Those accusations are totally misplaced. President Tsvangirai was mandated by a national council resolution to personally handle the coalition negotiations and this is exactly what he did.”
Gutu dismissed speculative reports that the MDC-T was heading for a split following Tsvangirai and Khupe’s fallout.
“The MDC is not heading for a split. We are very mature and responsible politicians who are capable of amicably resolving whatever differences that we might have among ourselves.
Let me make it abundantly clear that the MDC Alliance is the new game in town it is irreversible,” he said, adding that the party’s leadership was currently in consultations to resolve the impasse.
“As party leaders, we are meeting and discussing our different opinions and believe you me, at the end of the day, we are all going to agree on the need for a formidable coalition to face Zanu PF in next year’s elections. These are just teething challenges. You shouldn’t read too much into this episode. It’s just a passing phase. Trust me.”
The MDC Alliance brings together the MDC-T, Welshman Ncube’s MDC, Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Transform Zimbabwe under Jacob Ngarivhume, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), Multi-Racial Christian Democratic Party and Zanu Ndonga.
Tsvangirai’s top lieutenants — Khupe, Bhebhe and Moyo — have distanced themselves from the alliance.
They were particularly angry over the distribution of parliamentary seats with other opposition parties, especially in Matabeleland and Bulawayo.
“Further, we believe our concerns on the contents as well as the method that was used in the distribution of the seats are pertinent, and should accordingly be addressed,” they said.
The three have raised concern about the party only having to nominate the Speaker of Parliament with other legislative leadership positions being given to coalition partners.
They were also not happy with a clause giving away the post of Bulawayo and Harare deputy mayors to PDP.
They have raised concern over the distribution of chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of provincial councils and also the setting-up of a Coalition Principals’ Forum and Coalition Liaison Committee, arguing “in our view, these committees usurp the functions of the organs of the party”.