FRESH cracks have emerged in the MDC-T after party leader Morgan Tsvangirai clashed with his deputy Thokozani Khupe over the sacking of Matabeleland South provincial chairperson Solani Moyo, NewsDay has learnt.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
It is understood that Khupe on December 4, wrote to Moyo accusing him of “irregular behaviour” and subsequently suspended him before Tsvangirai wrote to his junior, advising her of the need to follow procedure.
She suspended Moyo with immediate effect pending investigations, saying appropriate action would be taken against him.
But, Tsvangirai was not amused by his deputy’s action saying the same Moyo had also written a letter of complaint against Khupe. As a result, Tsvangirai set aside Moyo’s purported suspension.
In a letter to Moyo and copied to Tsvangirai, Khupe wrote: “The basis of your suspension is the breach of the constitution of the Movement for Democratic Change and its regulations by yourself.
“More specifically, you have violated the Disciplinary Code of Conduct and Regulations, Annexure C, to constitution of the Movement for Democratic Change, Article 2 (n) and (o) in that on Saturday the 25th of November 2017 at Ndolwane, Bulilima West in Matabeleland South at a voter registration mobilisation programme organised by the party, you engaged in acts of violence by threatening to assault me and charging at me in a bid to assault me.”
She added: “You had to be restrained by other members of the party including the national organising secretary, the Honourable Abednico Bhebhe, from your intended assault in full view of the national chairperson Lovemore Moyo.”
“Since you are a national council member, I shall duly report to the National Executive Committee of your suspension as provided in Section 9.1.2 (i) of the Movement for Democratic Change,” Khupe wrote.
However, Tsvangirai responded on Thursday to Khupe: “I am disturbed that before I even considered your request and the issue surrounding the same, you have gone ahead to suspend the party’s chairperson in a matter in which you are the complainant and gone public on the same.
“It is not my intention at this stage to go into the merits of the case of the matter or the constitutionality of the actions taken to date without a proper investigation by a competent authority. However, for the sake of the good of our party and respect for principles of natural justice, I am now referring the matter to the arbiter-general of the party for a full investigation in which he shall advise the correct and constitutional process to follow.”
The two opposition leaders are still smarting from another clash where Khupe accused Tsvangirai of unilaterally entering into the 2018 electoral pact — the MDC Alliance, without consulting party structures in Matabeleland. The differences turned nasty a few months ago after party youths reportedly stormed a meeting and assaulted Khupe, chairman Moyo and organising secretary Bhebhe.
Following the skirmishes, the MDC-T suspended several officials as the party tried to mend fences and avoid another split ahead of the decisive elections.
But just as the dust was settling, another conflict is brewing over the procedure and manner in which Moyo — whom Khupe accused of threatening her with violence — was suspended.
This came at a time when some within the opposition party were pushing for leadership renewal, hence the alleged plan to remove perceived foes.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said there was no fallout between Tsvangirai and Khupe.
He said the issue regarding the suspension of the Matabeleland South provincial chairperson was under control.
“The problem is that there are some evil and malicious characters who are keen on igniting a fallout between the president and vice-president Khupe,” Gutu said.
“This whole issue has been blown out of proportion. It’s much ado about nothing. The party is more concerned and focused on mobilising Zimbabweans to come out and register to vote under the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise.”
Gutu added: “We are not in the least worried about prophets of doom and gloom who can’t wait to see the party leadership at each other’s throats.
“The relationship between president Tsvangirai and vice-president Khupe is deep-rooted and comradely.
“These are cadres who have come a very long way together dating back to their days in the labour movement under the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions).”