MDC Alliance presidential candidate and leader of the main faction of the MDC, Nelson Chamisa, has come under fire for not condemning the abuse of sacked former deputy leader, Thokozani Khupe, who was insulted by hordes of party supporters outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Khupe, who has refused to acknowledge Chamisa as the bona fide leader of the country’s main opposition party, on Tuesday was humiliated by MDC thugs who referred to her as hure (prostitute) during the Supreme Court hearing of an appeal by the rival faction to stop her from using the party’s name and symbols.
A large cross-section of Zimbabweans — including politicians, lawyers, and rights defenders — yesterday launched a withering attack on Chamisa for failing to condemn the incident — bringing back unwanted public scrutiny on the MDC Alliance leader who has had to endure bad publicity in recent weeks.
Researcher and director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Pedzisai Ruhanya, slammed the intolerance displayed outside the Supreme Court which he said had exposed the kind of people surrounding the MDC leadership.
“The tragedy with political miscreants is that they say of their opponents what they really are. This explains the behaviour of political hoodlums who abused Hon Khupe. The fact that they are all that dirty does not mean she is.
“She becomes all that undesirables when she disagreed with the riff ruffs but when they acted in common purpose she was not. The idiots and misguided MDC hoodlums have no case and should be put to order.
“These morons should not be allowed to define the opposition but it happens when leadership abrogates its duties and gets surrounded (by) foul-mouthed surrogates. Hon Khupe remains smart, an achiever and yes a beautiful leader and mother whatever the glue sniffers say!” said Ruhanya.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) expressed disappointment at the harassment of Khupe which it said should be condemned by the Chamisa-led faction.
“#Zimbabwe’s Opposition #MDCAlliance should discipline party youths who yesterday booed & harassed @DrThoko_Khupe outside the Supreme Court in Harare. Sexism, violence, & harassment of political opponents must stop. @nelsonchamisa @DMwonzora,” HRW director for southern Africa, Dewa Mavhinga, said in a tweet on micro blogging site, Twitter.
Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni suggested that Chamisa should publicly address Khupe’s humiliation.
“This can only be handled by our party president coming down firmly on these elements. It is damaging our brand. My personal apology to Dr Khupe,” said the forthright out-going Manyenyeni.
Spokesperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Madock Chivasa, said while politicians should differ, no one deserved the public humiliation and insults that were hurled at Khupe on Tuesday.
“When you disagree with their empty politics of violence and hatred you are a CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) operative, a Zanu PF plant or a whore.
“When they sit on the same table with Zanu PF like at Independence Day celebrations or during the inclusive government it’s a strategy and everyone must clap hands for them. I know elections will humble you and come back to your senses that Thokozani Khupe can never be an enemy or a whore whilst Zanu PF murderers are the ones that you can at least sit in the same tent with celebrating independence!” railed Chivasa.
MDC treasurer general, Chalton Hwende, in his personal capacity, said it was regrettable that Khupe was subjected to abuse by party supporters.
“I have noted, with profound sadness, videos from outside court which show individuals dressed in MDC colours singing sickening songs denouncing Ms Khupe.
While it is true that the MDC draws its support from the same human pool as Zanu PF, most MDC supporters will find the intolerance exhibited outside court today (Tuesday) contrary and alien to the party’s guiding beliefs. We must disagree, peacefully and on principle, because our party has greater ideas, not by debasing our opponents using the language of intolerance,” said Hwende.
On Tuesday the Supreme Court directed the High Court to hold a trial to determine whether Khupe is entitled to use the name of the party and establish if there were now two MDC T parties.
Chamisa and Khupe are embroiled in a bitter leadership wrangle that emerged after the death of MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai on February 14, this year.
Khupe is steadfastly refusing to accept that Chamisa is the bona fide successor to Tsvangirai.
The party’s leadership squabble has been raging on despite the popular Chamisa having been unanimously endorsed as presidential candidate in this year’s make-or-break elections by the MDC Alliance.
The MDC’s national council — which is the party’s highest decision-making body outside congress — endorsed Chamisa as the party’s president, although the gathering that made that decision is being contested by Khupe in the main. DailyNews