BY RICHARD MUPONDE
MDC-T interim leader Thokozani Khupe yesterday allegedly cancelled the extraordinary congress which was slated for today after gross irregularities were identified on the voters roll said to have been brought by interim secretary-general Douglas Mzonzora, the NewsDay weekender has learnt.
Party elections agents yesterday spend the better part of the day locked in meetings to verify the 2014 party structures, comparing with Mwonzora’s roll.
The roll, party insiders said, was in shambles, with names but without positions which they held at the time.
Party acting spokesperson Tapiwa Mashakada was not reachable for comment, but insiders said he was preparing a statement to announce the postponement of the congress to possibly next year.
“It’s been agreed (to cancel the congress). The party will seek another postponement at the court,” the insider said.
In October, the MDC-T was given up to 30 November to hold the extraordinary congress to select a new leader after missing the July deadline due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Khupe had approached the Supreme Court seeking guidance on the matter after the same court in March ordered the MDC-T to hold an elective congress within three months.
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In March this year, the Supreme Court ruled that MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa was not the legitimate leader of the opposition party despite them leading two different formations and reinstated Khupe as interim president with a mandate to lead the party to a congress to select a new leader to replace the late founding MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.
Khupe is facing off with Mwonzora, party national chairman Morgen Komichi and his deputy Elias Mudzuri.
Mwonzora was reportedly pushing for the use of a new voter’s roll while Khupe’s camp brought a roster of members from 2014.
There were also allegations that transport money was not released on time to allow delegates to travel to the voting centres today, with scant communication on the centres where polls would be held.
Komichi in the afternoon confirmed the disagreements over voters roll, despite claiming he was happy with the preparations of the congress.
“The preparations of the congress are going on well. We have no complaints but we are yet to agree on the voters’ roll. We haven’t seen it but we will give you an update,” Komichi said.
An insider confirmed the rift between Khupe and Mwonzora over the voters’ roll.
“There is a rift between Khupe and Mwonzora over which voter’s roll to use. Mwonzora wanted to use the current voters’ roll but that has been rebuffed by the Khupe camp which brought the 2014 structures voters’ roll,” the insider said.
“The fear in the Khupe’s camp is that the Mwonzora’s roll was full of his backers. The issue has further ignited fissures ahead of the extraordinary congress tomorrow (today).”
Khupe previously ordered that there be no gap filling to the party’s 2014 structures for the congress to block Mwonzora, who was allegedly stuffing the roll with his backers in a process led by Mashonaland East provincial chairman Piniel Denga.
Last week, Khupe’s camp was up in arms against Mwonzora, accusing him of stealing $300 000 from the $161 million the party got from government under the Political Parties Finance Act.
Mwonzora was cleared of wrong doing by the national standing committee on Thursday, giving an impression that Khupe and the former Nyanga MP had buried their hatchet ahead of the congress.