Khupe defends faction line-up

By Farayi Machamire

Break-away MDC formation president Thokozani Khupe has lashed out at her political male rivals saying their criticism of the elected leaders of her new formation border on cowardice.

Thokozani Khupe
Thokozani Khupe

Khupe, the newly-elected leader of the latest breakaway MDC faction, has said she has no regrets for cutting ties with Nelson Chamisa, whom she accused of hijacking the labour-backed party.

As had been widely expected, Khupe was elected leader of the faction at an extraordinary congress of the party held in the second city on Saturday.

Obert Gutu, Harare lawyer Nixon Nyikadzino and Abedinico Bhebhe were elected vice president, secretary-general and national chair respectively.

Academic Samukele Hadebe will deputise Nyikadzino.

South African-based Chief Ndlovu got the treasurer-general post while activist Yvonne Msarurwa — who is being deputised by Alfred Ncube — earned the national organising secretary post.

Activist Linda Masarira was elected party national spokesperson, a move that infuriated some party members who felt that she had been imposed as she was not in the party structures.

Dorothy Ncube and Fungai Masaiti were elected to the women’s chair and youth chair posts respectively, while Douglas Mwonzora who had been anticipated to join the congress, he did not turn up.

Her daughter Isabel Mwonzora landed the youth secretary general post.

“The MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe, is not surprised by the avalanche of comments, most of them from people who are afraid of women who chose to congregate around principle, constitutionalism, and to engage in politics that puts the people of Zimbabwe first,” Khupe said through her spokesperson Witness Dube.

“She is equally unfazed by the usual ganging up of some self-misguiding and cowardly men who become uneasy at the sight of women whose coming together results in gender mainstreaming in decision making.

“On the contrary, … Khupe is unreservedly proud that … Masarira satisfied all the constitutional requirements in her entry into the MDC-T main body politics of the party, and is part of the women contingent which has seen our party being the only one in Zimbabwe with a 50-50 gender representation in its standing committee.”

Khupe singled out Masarira saying she joined MDC in 2000, and became active in the Bulawayo South District before going dormant from party politics after she grew increasingly dissatisfied with what she viewed as a deviation of the party from its founding values.

“… Masarira is a credible and unapologetic social, economic, political and feminist activist who needs no introduction to the Zimbabwean political arena. It was therefore not a difficult decision for the party to allow her to subject herself to congress for election to the position of secretary for Information and Publicity, which position she was unanimously elected for,” Dube added.

Following Morgan Tsvangirai’s death, the opposition picked Chamisa as its new leader and presidential candidate, but Khupe and her allies accused the 40-year-old of a power grab, and have also refused to recognise his leadership.

Chamisa then approached the High Court in Bulawayo seeking an interdict to stop Khupe and her allies from continuing to infringe on the MDC trademark, passing off as the party leader, and using the MDC name without the authority of the opposition party.

Judgment in the Bulawayo High Court was reserved to today while deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza conducted a hearing last week that determined Khupe’s Con-Court case as urgent.

The case in the Bulawayo High Court is important in that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba made it clear that she will not be entertaining confusion where more than one party uses the same name and symbols and that any such dispute must be resolved by the courts before nomination day. DailyNews