MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s failing health has triggered a fresh succession fight with party hawks flagging his deputies Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe’s credentials on social media platforms with a view to influence the choice of his successor.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Party deputy treasurer-general Charlton Hwende yesterday clashed with Khupe’s aide de camp Witness Dube on Facebook, as they fought from different corners over who was more senior between Khupe and Chamisa.
Tempers flared after Dube labelled Chamisa as a Tsvangirai appointee whose powers and mandate could not be equated with that of Khupe who was elected at congress.
“We have also watched without surprise whatsoever at his (Chamisa) (of course, in collaboration with his kith and kin) serious attempt at some morbid tribalistic (sic) secessionism — sweet-talking his way to the presidency through a sham appointment… How do you hazard equalising a personal appointment with a congressional mandate? For the record, Chamisa was rejected by our people for a lesser role as a minute taker in the party,” Khupe’s aide wrote.
Hwende defended Chamisa’s elevation, saying he was elected by the MDC-T national council sitting as congress and, therefore, Chamisa, Khupe and Elias Mudzuri were equal.
“All delegates who sit in council meetings are aware of the decision to elect the additional VPs was made by the national council sitting as a congress. This was after the national congress failed to complete congress business and delegated its powers to the national council. Also refer to the recent High Court decision on the Murimoga/ Rice issue as the judgment is clear that the national council was sitting as congress and the two additional VPs were duly elected,” Hwende wrote.
Binga North legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda, viewed as a Chamisa ally, also hit out at the Khupe camp accusing Dube of personalising issues.
“It’s sad that at times people like Dube become personal… how does it happen that Chamisa is an appointee of the president and Mudzuri be elected? And how do you conclude that the national council did not get an opportunity to deliberate on the appointments without producing minutes? The de jure and de facto position that we have to live with is that the party has three VPs and they are equal,” Dubeko Sibanda said.
Chamisa has been touted as the leading contender both in the party and outside, but some senior party officials are against the young lawyer taking the reins of power at the MDC-T.
“Cobra (Chamisa) can’t lead the MDC-T, if that happens I will quit politics. He is a divisive character and honestly Khupe is our natural leader,” one member of the MDC-T standing committee said.
Party spokesperson Obert Gutu said it was wrong for party members to discuss internal party matters in the public domain.
“The MDC is a party of excellence and we don’t condone any wayward and/or irresponsible behaviour from party cadres. More importantly, we are not supposed to debate internal party processes on social media because there are proper party channels of communication and debate of internal issues. As such, we call upon all our party cadres, without exception, to conduct themselves in a mature and responsible manner on all social media platforms,” Gutu said.