Ts­van­gi­rai, Khupe in show­down over VPs

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nduduzo Tshuma Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

THE MDC-T stand­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing in Harare yes­ter­day ended abruptly as party leader Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai clashed with his deputy Ms Thokozani Khupe over the ap­point­ment of Mr Nel­son Chamisa and Engi­neer Elias Mudzuri as ad­di­tional deputy pres­i­dents.

Mr Ts­van­gi­rai two weeks ago an­nounced the ap­point­ment of Mr Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri which he said had been di­rected by the party’s na­tional coun­cil, the high­est de­ci­sion mak­ing body be­tween con­gresses.

How­ever, Ms Khupe and key mem­bers of her fac­tion who didn’t at­tend that meet­ing dis­tanced them­selves from the ap­point­ments in sim­mer­ing ten­sions that led to yes­ter­day’s show­down.

It is said that the Khupe-led fac­tion in­ter­preted the ap­point­ments by Mr Ts­van­gi­rai as a ploy to erode her pow­ers and in­flu­ence in the party.

Party in­sid­ers said that the highly charged meet­ing lasted un­der 20 min­utes as Ms Khupe was joined by the likes of party na­tional chair­man Mr Love­more Moyo, spokesper­son Mr Obert Gutu, sec­re­tary gen­eral Mr Dou­glas Mwon­zora and na­tional or­gan­is­ing sec­re­tary Mr Abe­dinico Bhebhe who ar­gued that the ap­point­ments were il­le­gal.

Mr Ts­van­gi­rai on the other hand, stood his ground de­fend­ing the ap­point­ments and was backed by Mr Charl­ton Hwende, Bu­l­awayo East leg­is­la­tor Ms Thabitha Khu­malo, Mr Murisi Zwiz­wai among other of­fi­cials.

Yes­ter­day’s meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to in­sid­ers, was meant to in­tro­duce Mr Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri to the stand­ing com­mit­tee as the newly ap­pointed vice pres­i­dents, as part of a process to op­er­a­tionalise their po­si­tions.

Mr Gutu yes­ter­day de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter say­ing: “Meet­ings of our na­tional stand­ing com­mit­tee are pri­vate and con­fi­den­tial. It will be re­miss of me to tell you what hap­pened in that meet­ing.”

How­ever, sources said sparks started to fly when Ms Khupe protested the pres­ence of Mr Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri in the meet­ing, ar­gu­ing that they were not mem­bers of the stand­ing com­mit­tee.

“Soon after prayers and as Ts­van­gi­rai was out­lin­ing the agenda of the meet­ing, Khupe protested the pres­ence of Chamisa and Mudzuri, say­ing they were not sup­posed to be part of the meet­ing re­sult­ing in a heated ex­change be­tween the lead­ers,” said an MDC-T source.

“Khupe ar­gued that the ap­point­ment of the two was il­le­gal and they shouldn’t be al­lowed in the meet­ing. Tem­pers flared as the meet­ing was di­vided into two camps with the na­tional chair­man, Gutu, Mwon­zora and Bhebhe sup­port­ing Khupe while Khu­malo, Zwiz­wai, Thabitha and Hwende among oth­ers ral­lied be­hind Ts­van­gi­rai.

“Ms Khupe said the party would not con­tinue hav­ing il­le­gal de­ci­sions as Ts­van­gi­rai tried in vain to jus­tify the ap­point­ment of the two.

“In the melee, Hwende also ac­cused Mwon­zora of hir­ing thugs to beat him up, al­le­ga­tions that the sec­re­tary gen­eral ve­he­mently de­nied. ”

Sources said Mr Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri sat qui­etly in the meet­ing as Mr Ts­van­gi­rai and Ms Khupe squared off while Mr Mor­gan Komichi and Ms Pau­rina Mu­pariwa also did not take part in the ar­gu­ment. Mrs Theresa Makone was ab­sent. “After a heated ex­change of al­most 20 min­utes, Ts­van­gi­rai ad­journed the meet­ing say­ing they were fail­ing to get any­where over the mat­ter.

“He said the is­sue of the ap­point­ments would be re­ferred to the party’s na­tional coun­cil and na­tional ex­ec­u­tive for dis­cus­sion and en­dorse­ment,’’ said the source.

“Ts­van­gi­rai didn’t men­tion when ex­actly the two or­gans will meet but they are ex­pected to meet as early as next week.”

Some party mem­bers last week ap­proached the courts seek­ing the re­ver­sal of the two ap­point­ments of Mr Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri, ar­gu­ing that Mr Ts­van­gi­rai breached the party con­sti­tu­tion.

Mr Ts­van­gi­rai, di­ag­nosed with colon can­cer re­cently, through the ap­point­ments is said to be try­ing to man­age the party’s suc­ces­sion wars that threaten to tear apart the coun­try’s main op­po­si­tion party.

Mr Chamisa is be­lieved to be lead­ing a fac­tion en­gaged in a suc­ces­sion war with an­other fac­tion led by Ms Khupe.

Last night, there were re­ports of a planned ur­gent cham­ber ap­pli­ca­tion in the High Court seek­ing an or­der to in­ter­dict Mr Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri from tak­ing up the po­si­tions.

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