The MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe has been plunged into chaos amid deepening divisions within the interim leadership.The development comes at a time the party is awaiting a High Court decision on an appeal filed by the MDC-Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa against the recall of four legislators from parliament.
The four are: Prosper Mutseyami (Dangamvura-Chikanga), who was also the opposition party’s chief whip, Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), Thabitha Khumalo (proportional representative Bulawayo province) and Senator Lillian Timveous (Midlands).
They were recalled by the Khupe faction fronted by Douglas Mwonzora, who was reinstated as the MDC-T secretary-general by the Supreme Court when it ordered a return to the 2014 structures early last month.
Official party documents reveal that all was not well in the party.The political fractures widened on Wednesday when the party’s director of technical staff, Farai Chinobva, unilaterally wrote to senior members inviting them to attend national council and executive meetings which he said were supposed to be held today at Morgan Tsvangirai House (formerly Harvest House) in central Harare, drawing an angry response from Mwonzora.
Both the Khupe and Chamisa camps claim to be the legal occupants of the building.”I refer to the invitations that you circulated to members including myself, yesterday (Wednesday) about the above meetings. As you know, I did not convene those meetings.
“I have checked with the acting president, Dr Khupe, national chairman, Senator (Morgen) Komichi and national organising secretary Hon (Abednico) Bhebhe and they all profess ignorance of the meetings. I have also checked with the deputy chief of staff Colen Gwiyo who is equally ignorant about these meetings. Please note that you have no right to convene these meetings without my authority,” Mwonzora wrote yesterday.
“In view of the recent Supreme Court ruling, no other person save for the persons mentioned above are allowed to convene these meetings. On top of that your invitation is on such short notice to the members. Given the numbers of people who are entitled to attend these meetings, your convening of the meetings is in contravention of the Covid-19 regulations,” Mwonzora’s letter reads.
“That means you are setting leadership up for arrests by the police. You are no doubt aware of the hefty fines that the members would be made to pay.
“You are also aware I hope that you expose the members to the possibility of being quarantined in the event that they are arrested. I therefore direct you to cancel your invitations. By copy of this letter I hereby advise all members that these meetings have been cancelled.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Chinobva said: “The only thing I can tell you, is that I don’t work for Mwonzora.”This is not the first time fissures have emerged in the Khupe camp in the aftermath of the ruling.
Last month, Nickson Nyikadzino, who was elected secretary-general of MDC-T at a congress in 2018, announced that he and not Mwonzora was the party’s real secretary-general and was therefore in charge of preparations for an extraordinary congress which the court ordered.