INTERIM MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday revealed that the opposition party had started the process of bringing underfire deputy president Thokozani Khupe to the negotiating table, to resolve their leadership wrangle and agree on the founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s successor.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Fierce succession fights have rocked the opposition party since Tsvangirai’s health condition took a nose dive in the past few weeks, culminating in his death last week.
Two rival camps headed by Chamisa and Khupe were jostling to take over the reins of power, although the Kuwadzana East MP has already received endorsements from various party organs.
MDC Alliance principals have also tipped Chamisa to stand as presidential candidate for the opposition coalition grouping, which comprises seven political parties.
Addressing journalists in Harare soon after the party’s standing committee meeting which Khupe and her allies boycotted, Chamisa expressed optimism that their leadership wrangle would soon be “a thing of the past”.
“Dr Khupe is a leader of this party, we are engaging her and there are processes we have deployed to make sure that we find each other,” he said.
“You may not see her now, but you must know that she is with us and there is a process that I have instructed and leadership requested me to kick-start that one so that we find each other. We are not going to go public about our internal processes, transparency is not nakedness,” he said, while refusing to divulge the mediation process.
“We want to move away from internal focus to external focus. We don’t want to internally focus on ourselves. You know that the misfortune of the departure of our giant, the icon, the founding father of democracy in Zimbabwe (Tsvangirai) is not an easy element and we are in a transition as a party and that transition is very smooth.
“It would have turbulences because we are flying, but that doesn’t mean the plane is crushing. There are no differences that I would say are catastrophic. We are reaching out, we are working out a programme to make sure there is rapport in the cockpit. There is understanding in the cockpit and that will be communicated at an appropriate stage.”
He said the matter regarding Khupe was beyond the leadership rivalry, as there were issues between her and the party regarding the MDC Alliance.
He said Khupe would speak for herself and give her position at an appropriate time.
But Khupe’s aide, Witness Dube, yesterday vowed that her boss would not set foot at the party’s Harvest House headquarters for the proposed negotiations, unless her security was guaranteed.
“With the amount of hate language being spewed from Harvest House, it will only take a platoon of special forces to secure Dr Khupe if she was going to make it in a meeting held there,” Dube said.
“Dr Khupe has raised her security concerns with all relevant stakeholders, but she has not received any assurances or commitment that she will be safe. Once stoned, once nearly burnt alive, twice shy. These are the consequences of not following the party constitution.”
On another note, Chamisa said they were still pursuing a grand coalition with other opposition alliances, including former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s People’s Rainbow Coalition.
He said since the memorandum of understanding between Tsvangirai and Mujuru’s party still stood, he was geared to pursue it to its finality.
“Our view is that we must have a grand coalition of democrats, a grand strategy in terms of making a broad alliance possible,” he said.
“We hope to have one killer punch against dictatorship. This is no longer about Zanu PF and MDC-T it is about the national blow to dictatorship.”
Chamisa also took a dig at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 100-day rapid results programme, describing it as a monumental failure.
He said Mnangagwa’s first 100 days in office had nothing to show, evidence that the Zanu PF leader should be nowhere near power after this year’s elections.
Chamisa accused Mnangagwa of failing to turn around the economy, tame corrupt public officials, reform the electoral roadmap and improve the country’s human rights since he assumed power in November last year.
“Clearly, you can see that Mnangagwa is not fit for purpose. He is out of depth in terms of what must be delivered to the people of Zimbabwe at a technical and leadership level,” he said.
“We understand that he has been part of this system for the past 37 years and we have seen 100 days of the past 37 years. We have seen 100 days of the past failure, we have seen the replication of the old system and there is nothing new in terms of the politics, the leadership and the approach.”
Chamisa said they were also following with keen interest developments at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in a bid to have free and fair elections.