MDC Alliance councillors yesterday snubbed MDC-T interim leader Thokozani Khupe, with 14 out of 71 councillors from Greater Harare attending her party meeting at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Khupe’s team tried to inflate the attendance figures, with two officials, however, giving different figures.
Acting party spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni said 15 councillors attended the meeting, but Epworth Local Board chairperson Batanai Masunda claimed 20 were in attendance, while sources insisted only 14 councillors turned up.
“It was a meeting called by the acting president to deal with several issues as you have read in the media of cases of corruption within local authorities, among other issues. She was reading the riot act and warning those involved in corruption,” Phugeni said.
An attendance register seen by NewsDay Weekender showed that 10 out of 45 Harare councillors attended while Chitungwiza only had two out of 21, while Epworth also had two out of a possible five city fathers.
The opposition was thrown into turmoil after a Supreme Court “moot” ruling of March 30 declared Khupe the interim leader of the MDC-T, saying Nelson Chamisa’s appointment as party vice-president was done unprocedurally.
Since then, Khupe has gone on a warpath recalling MDC Alliance legislators from Parliament and taking over party offices claiming she was the bona fide party leader. This is despite the fact that her MDC-T party and Chamisa’s MDC Alliance contested the 2018 presidential elections as separate entities.
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Commenting on the snub, MDC Alliance secretary for presidential affairs Jameson Timba said the move confirmed that the rival camp had no basis to its claim of legitimacy without numbers.
“Khupe and Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T interim secretary-general) are learning very fast that political power and legitimacy are people rather than court-driven,” Timba said.
“Courts do not bestow political legitimacy. They thought that by commandeering the whole State machinery with threats of recall against the MDC Alliance deployees they would also commandeer people’s hearts.” MDC Alliance deputy secretary for local government, Jacob Mafume, said party councillors who have defected to Khupe’s camp would be penalised.