FORMER deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, who now leads a splinter group of the MDC-T after the acrimonious split that followed a leadership wrangle in the aftermath of founding opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai’s death in February, has virtually ruled out talks aimed at re-unification.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
The new MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa and his group have been saying there was a possibility of talks with Khupe ahead of general elections set for later this year. But Khupe’s deputy, Obert Gutu yesterday said there was no way this was possible.
“I cannot say much for now, but given that I handle issues of strategy and policy in our party, there are certain values that make it impossible for a re-unification, let alone talks,” he said.
On Monday, the former deputy Justice minister used social media to declare his disdain for the Chamisa group.
“Anyone who thinks the MDC-T will re-unite with a group of people who are vindictive, insincere and violent might as well believe that tomorrow the sun will rise in the west and set in the east,” Gutu said.
Asked to explain, Gutu added: “There are certain benchmarks we follow whether we are talking to these people [Chamisa and his acolytes] or any other political formation. As long as these are not met, then they can forget.”
Chamisa said they were way ahead of Khupe.
“We have people who are worried over our friend whom we used to work with who is in Bulawayo, she might cause confusion in the forthcoming elections, well are advanced and far ahead of her in terms of strategy. Fear not, that matter was concluded, there will be no confusion. When our late leader Morgan Tsvangirai passed on, he left us with a vision of unity, but there are others who have a bad spirit of division. We will deal with that person and we will deal with the issue of our symbol and go to elections and vote for MDC-T which will be clearly branded,” he said.
However, MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora insisted that the MDC-T needed talks to bring the warring factions together.
“We are not going to tire what brings us together is more than that which separates us, public pronouncements are not what informs talks between parties, when doors are closed we know we are closer to each other.
“We are not giving up on dialogue. It is the way to go in the new Zimbabwean politics and we must always be seen to be tolerant of each other’s views. To that end we will continue reaching out to the other group,” he said.
The two groups are already engaged in a nasty legal battle over the use of the party name with Chamisa having already approached the Supreme Court to appeal a High Court decision made in Bulawayo temporarily allowing Khupe the freedom to continue using the MDC-T logo and other associated paraphernalia.
Justice Francis Bere ruled that the two factions needed to seek the help of an arbitrator for a determination on the matter of who had the legitimate right to use the name of the party, adding that as things stood, it was not clear who was the leader.