MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe has all but surrendered her fight for the party leadership to Nelson Chamisa after she appealed to the party’s elders to resolve the internecine dispute following the death of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
Tsvangirai died two weeks ago in South Africa after a long battle with colon cancer and his burial at Humanikwa village homestead in Buhera was characterised by violence triggered by succession battles.
Khupe, who argued she was the acting president according to the party’s constitution, appealed to the party’s Guardian Council to intervene and resolve the leadership wars pitting herself against Chamisa, the interim president.
Apart from seeking protection and calling for the disbandment of the party youth militia going by the name “Order of The Vanguard”, Khupe was also demanding an investigation into the source of funds being used by Chamisa to bankroll meetings, which she said were not coming from normal party channels.
“I am appealing for the Guardian Council organ of the party to intervene in the leadership dispute currently going on in the party,” part of Khupe’s letter dated February 23 read.
“Your intervention is provided for in Article 6.7.1(d) of our party constitution, which outlines your mandate as being to investigate, arbitrate, and reconcile members and organs of the party.
“Acknowledging that such a request should ordinarily come from the national executive committee, I wish to state that I have not had an opportunity to convene such a consultative meeting with this organ because of the ever escalating threat of violence targeted at my discharge of mandate and duties.”
Chamisa has already found his way to the party’s top leadership post after being endorsed by the MDC-T decision-making organs, spurning Khupe and secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora’s calls for a special congress to elect the party’s presidential candidate.
Khupe argued that she was the rightful heir to Tsvangirai’s post because she was elected by the MDC-T congress in 2014.
She said she wrote to Tsvangirai raising several concerns, including the issue of the MDC Alliance, and on the violent attack she reportedly suffered at the hands of alleged party youths, but the issue was not solved due to the late leader’s ill-health and subsequent death.
Khupe said Tsvangirai was committed to solving the problem and withdrew national organiser Abednico Bhebhe’s suspension to pave way for negotiations.
She also claimed she met Chamisa and they agreed to abide by the party constitution before he made an about turn and called meetings, where he was ordained as the party’s acting president.
“On my arrival in Buhera, I was accosted by rowdy youths chanting Chamisa slogans. The rest, as they say, is history. I was called names including being called a ‘dissident’ woman who should return to Matabeleland. I had beer poured all over me. I was poked at the back with umbrellas, and got a few whips with the tree branches that they had,” Khupe wrote.
“In the aftermath of the burial of president Tsvangirai, I called for a standing committee meeting to discuss all the issues bedevilling the party, but to my surprise, a counter-meeting was called and attended by some standing committee members.
“This confirms that Honourable Chamisa is not relenting in his efforts to use whatever means necessary to forge ahead with consolidating his grip of the party outside the constitution.”