THE leadership crisis in the MDC-T party has taken another twist, with deputy president, Thokozani Khupe (pictured), declaring herself the bona fide acting president of the opposition party, denouncing a national council resolution that endorsed Nelson Chamisa as the interim leader, as unconstitutional.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
“The purported meeting and subsequent resolutions that were made and announced to the public on February 15, 2018, barely 12 hours after the passing of president Morgan Tsvangirai, were, therefore, a non-event that only sought to make a mockery of the long established constitutional democratic values and ethos that govern our party,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
“At our 2014 ordinary congress, which elected our late president, yours truly was the only delegate to be unanimously nominated and duly elected as the substantive deputy president of the party.
“It is by due operation of the constitution that I am the acting president, as we emerge from the loss of our leader to chart the way forward for our party. Nitty-gritties of the constitutional grounding of this position will be given due attention by the responsible organs of the party who will shed more clarity on it.”
Khupe cited article 9.20.1. of the MDC-T constitution, which states that in the event of the incapacitation or death of the president, the deputy president automatically assumes the role of president.
She said she was already consulting party organs with a view to urgently holding an extraordinary congress to choose a substantive MDC-T leader.
Chamisa was last week appointed interim MDC-T leader by the party’s national council, a day after party leader, Tsvangirai succumbed to colon cancer at a private South African Hospital.
The Kuwadzana East MP defended his appointment, saying it was meant to avoid a leadership vacuum, but his counterparts Khupe and Elias Mudzuri dismissed the move as fraudulent.
Tsvangirai was buried on Wednesday in Buhera, where Khupe, organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe and secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora were allegedly assaulted by party youth believed to be aligned to Chamisa.
Chamisa has also revealed plans to embark on consultative meetings on the way forward.
Khupe said: “As the acting president, I am currently making consultations with the rest of the leadership in the party and we will be making a full statement on the way forward.
“This way forward will ordinarily include a roadmap to an extraordinary congress, as it is the only organ that can choose a substantive president for our party, and is the only route that will give an unadulterated mandate to that substantive leader given the background of constitutional violations, which placed numerous co-pilots into the cockpit of a jet that had taken off at the 2014 congress.”
The former Makokoba legislator also vowed to take stern action to uproot the culture of violence in the MDC-T, as a befitting honour to the late Tsvangirai.
“We will do this not only in honour of the memory of our fallen gallant president, but more importantly as a means of entrenching constitutionalism, non-violence, and democratic practice as our choice weapons for achieving the alternative developmental state, we have been selling to our electorate since our formation.
“These values will be part of the underlying bedrock from which the full campaign machinery of the party will soon be unveiled,” she said.
Mudzuri, the third MDC-T deputy president, has somewhat taken a back seat, as the battle for the party’s presidency rages on.