Tsvangirai moves to avert split

OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday swiftly moved in to avert yet another deadly split within his party as he lashed out at “rogue” activists who brutally assaulted several top officials, including his deputy, Thokozani Khupe, during a meeting in Bulawayo on Sunday.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA/NQOBANI NDLOVU

OLD FOES ... MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai (right) shares a lighter moment with his MDC counterpart Welshman Ncube during the MDC Alliance signing ceremony at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare, on Saturday
OLD FOES … MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai (right) shares a lighter moment with his MDC counterpart Welshman Ncube during the MDC Alliance signing ceremony at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare, on Saturday

Tsvangirai told journalists at a hastily-arranged Press conference in Harare that the incident was a “dastardly act” and promised to bring the culprits to book, amid reports that Khupe’s group was plotting to sever ties with the opposition party.

In 2005, then MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube broke ranks with Tsvangirai following their fallout over the party’s participation in Senate elections. This was followed by
another split in 2014 when Ncube’s successor, Tendai Biti, severed ties with the MDC-T accusing Tsvangirai of exhibiting dictatorial tendencies and failing to dislodge President Robert Mugabe in three successive presidential elections.

“As the president of the party, I condemn in the strongest terms this callous act of violence committed by these people,” Tsvangirai said.

“Our vice-president, Honourable Thokozani Khupe, together with other members of the national leadership was manhandled by these thugs resulting in the vice-president having to seek medical attention.”

The MDC-T leader said the thuggish behaviour had violated Khupe’s dignity as a woman.

“Her position as the party’s vice-president, her dignity and her status as a woman, a mother and a role model to many young women was immensely undermined in the process. This misguided behaviour puts the name of the party and our beliefs into serious disrepute both nationally and internationally,” he said.

This came amid reports that Khupe was immediately admitted at a private hospital for suspected high-blood pressure following the incident.

For years, Tsvangirai has been accused of failing to rein-in party hooligans, among them the party’s deputy treasurer-general Charlton Hwende who on Sunday posted offensive messages on Facebook insinuating that Khupe and her group deserved the bashing because they had boycotted the signing ceremony for the coalition deal in Harare the previous day.

Tsvangirai said: “Wait for us until we act, don’t judge us with the past … as for Hwende, he will receive the same censure as everyone else. The values of the party are for everyone not only for the youths.”

Hwende in his post in the aftermath of the incident seemed to blame Khupe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Abednigo Bhebhe of holding a clandestine meeting to undermine the coalition deal, hence inviting the violence.

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said the disrupted Bulawayo meeting had been sanctioned by the party as part of internal consultations regarding the envisaged opposition coalition ahead of next year’s general elections.

Khupe and her supporters were reportedly opposed to the MDC Alliance which will see them cede some of their traditional seats to Ncube’s MDC.

A top MDC-T official who attended the aborted Bulawayo meeting said they were opposed to ceding seats to Ncube and were contemplating parting ways with Tsvangirai.

“Tsvangirai knows that what he has done (sharing of seats) does not resonate with Bulawayo and the region as a whole. His (Tsvangirai)’s audacity to hire thugs (from Harare) shows that he understands our feeling resonates with what the people (in the region) want,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

But Bhebhe yesterday played down talk of a split, insisting that the team which met in Bulawayo was on its way to discuss grey areas in the coalition with Tsvangirai.

“Talk that we are splitting or rebelling against Tsvangirai is pure hogwash, we are not and we are also not fighting the president, but we want to engage him on the coalition,” he said.

Tsvangirai, however, said the alliance will go ahead and would not be side-tracked by events which took place in Bulawayo.

“I want to conclude by saying that if anyone thinks violence will detract or divert us from the alliance that we launched on Saturday, then they are very wrong. One wonders what motivated this callous behaviour and whose cause was being advanced as it is now turning out to benefit our detractors,” he said.

Yesterday, several diplomatic missions, women’s groups and general public condemned the resurgence of intra-party violence in the MDC-T, saying the ugly scenes were likely to mar the party’s preparations for next year’s elections.

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14 Comments

  1. those who watched that scene claim that at one part those who were aiding them turned against them. obviously some were quick to blame but it is still unclear.

    1. Khupe and Bhebe must not loose sleep about seats being donated to Welshman as you know Welshman doese not have any constituency as of 2013 when he ganered 0% in the general elections these seats will still come back to you come 2018 some of the guys who have joined you are none entities when it comes to MDC-T Tsnagirai is very clever in this case he has avoided splitting votes like in 2008 when Welshman claimed those 10 seats and Simba messed up also by claiming an 8% that resulted in ZEC with holding results for 6 weeks if it was not of that 8% and the 10 seats MDC could have won that election so dont loose sleep i guarantee you will claim back those seats even if they are under Welshman

  2. she’s the new Olinda Chapel

  3. People should always remember who Tsvangirai is: he is a man who is always against violence and this thing has something with ZANU PF. They are the ones who sent their hooligans to make people thing that our President is now in for violence. Where are the perpetrators of the violent incident and whagt are they from?. ZANU yapererwa PLUS WE KNOW ITS THEM WHO ARE VIOLENT, SATANISTS

  4. This khupe woman thinks she is clever. The people of matebeland are not stupid. For her own information the ndebele people are more politically mature than shona people and as a shona myself, i respect them for that. Now Khupe thinks she is going to succeed by using the tribal card. The people of matebeland have suffered enough and this mercenary politician should not use them. Khupe is into politics not because she wants to serve the people but to make money and to enjoy the good life. Remember this is exactly what she said sometime ago when she was addressing a meeting in London. Iam surprised now to hear Tsvangirai talking of her status, role model and dignity. What dignity? What role model? Khupe is nothing but a shameless power hungry tribalist and a mercenary at that. The sooner MDC realises this and expel her, the better for the opposition party. She has become a divisive and negative force. She has developed an inflated ego and she should be pushed to go the mangoma way- into obscurity.

  5. khupe will be vice president , while Bhebhe and moyo will be ministers in the new government . so where is the problem . this is the highest achievement for you guys. dont be too ambitious you destroy your career. sibanda gibson costed the party dearly which is the same history being repeated by KHUPE. HAMUITEWO KUNGE CHAMISA NAMWONZORA SEI KUDZIKAMA sei?

  6. khupe nyaya yako yamai mujuru ngaibve yapera.

  7. mama khuphe please don’t postpone our freedom. you know that freedom sometimes demands sacrifise. to those thugs who beat her, please leave the party and return to zanu.

  8. Party infiltrated by ZANU PF youths. Be careful!!!

  9. KHUPE HATIDI HUNHU HWA JOICE MUJURU IHWOHWO zvawakuda kutanga izvi zvinonetsa ngatibatanei tiite chinhu chimwe chete tibvise ZANU PF pachigaro zvimwe zvese mozotaura tawina maElections next yaer

  10. MDC T, The party that relies on Zimbabwe South and defacates on Zimbabwe South

  11. khupe dzikama hako pindai munew government mose here.

  12. Amai khupe Shingai zvenyu victory is near. Matobhabhatidzwa God bless you

  13. Simply revert to the original MDC family and stop talking about the past splinter groups. People supported the united original MDC and not the individuals and some individuals because they remained in what people perceived to be the original MDC, now think they are popular and some regions have been known not to support ZANU and supporting MDC was only an alternative and not a choice.

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