By Blessed Mhlanga, Miriam Mangwaya and Richard Muponde
Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC-T formation faces implosion after top executives, including his deputy Thokozani Khupe, were ordered to leave the party for recently defying a directive to withdraw financial impropriety charges they filed against him.
The resolution to purge defiant executives was read out to Khupe and her team on Wednesday this week following a national standing committee meeting held two weeks ago.
Besides Khupe, Mwonzora’s axe is also likely to fall on party chairperson Morgen Komichi, Chief Ndlovu and several top executives after they insisted that Mwonzora should account for the $6 million illegally withdrawn from party coffers ahead of the party’s extraordinary congress in December.
“The resolution was smuggled as a way of bringing cohesion into the party cockpit and ensuring that the top leaders do not seem to be working against each other. They want Khupe, Komichi and Ndlovu to withdraw affidavits with the police,” an insider said.
Khupe, who has been boycotting party meetings since she controversially lost to Mwonzora at an extraordinary congress held in December, reportedly dug in and challenged Mwonzora to come out clean on the matter.
MDC-T’s provincial chairman of the United States branch Dan Moyo yesterday confirmed the development.
“I have heard from our structures and representatives in the standing committee that there has been an attempt to silence leaders who reported to the police over the missing funds. We can’t be a party that condones criminality. If there is no theft, why order party members to withdraw their reports to the police?” Moyo said.
But MDC-T presidential spokesperson Lloyd Damba denied reports of a looming purge, saying the party was simply working towards cohesion.
“There is no ounce of truth in that. What we discussed were issues to do with leadership cohesion, institutional growth and strengthening. For us to achieve this, it means there must be peace in the cockpit,” he said.
Asked whether Mwonzora was ready to stand trial in court to prove his innocence, Damba said the party congress had made a resolution that no funds were missing, hence Mwonzora had no case to answer.
He said the allegations that Mwonzora stole party funds were malicious.
Komichi curtly said he was not aware of the issues.
“It was never said. Maybe I had gone out of the meeting when it was said,” he said.
MDC-T activist Patson Murimoga recently mobilised for demonstrations against the party leader and wrote several petitions to compel Mwonzora to account for the missing party funds.
Yesterday, Murimoga claimed on social media that he had been fired from the party for refusing to withdraw theft charges against Mwonzora.
“People of Zimbabwe, I want you to know that on April 14, MDC-T as a party made a resolution that all leaders who gave statements to the police over the $6 million stolen by Mwonzora should go back and withdraw the statements,” Murimoga said.
“Failure of which they said the youth assembly will deal with us. Right now, I have received a letter firing me from the party because I refused to go and withdraw my statement,” he said.
However, party spokesperson Witness Dube yesterday dismissed Murimoga’s claims, describing him as desperate.
“Patson Murimoga should focus on rebuilding his fallen musical career, seeing how he has become a stranded horse, voiced lamp post, tortoise singing for supper from enemies of the MDC-T, over funds that never went missing from our coffers,” Dube said.
In a related development, Khupe’s chief aide, Kudzanai Mashumba, two weeks ago filed a US$5 500 theft charge against Mwonzora, claiming the embattled MDC-T leader stole the money from his office at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House in December 2020.
The matter was reported under case number CR1303/21. Yesterday, Mashumba attempted to enter the party offices in the company of detectives investigating the matter, but was reportedly blocked by Mwonzora’s aides. NewsDay