MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora on Wednesday came close to admitting the opposition’s leadership row was nearing tipping point after Vice President Thokozani Khuphe again boycotted a party national standing committee meeting which was chaired by co-VP Elias Mudzuri.
Khuphe and allies in party national chair Lovemore Moyo and Abednico Bhebhe, organising secretary are unhappy about the party’s decision to form a coalition with other opposition forces ahead of national elections this year.
They insist that the MDC-T should not surrender its territorial dominance in Matebeleland through ceding some of its safe seats to coalition partners under the loose unity arrangement.
Khuphe’s gripe with her colleagues also emanates from the current contest for party control which was fuelled by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s decision to appoint Vice President Nelson Chamisa and Mudzuri as co-VPs.
Tsvangirai is currently in South Africa receiving treatment for colon cancer which has seen him recently appoint Mudzuri as acting party President.
That has incensed Khuphe who on Tuesday boycotted a party meeting
And for the umpteenth time, she was conspicuous by her absence in last week’s meeting although she attended parliament hours later.
The ex-deputy prime minister was not reachable when attempts were made Wednesday to seek her views on the matter.
She did not attend parliament either.
But in an interview with NewZimbabwe, Mwonzora partially admitted the impasse was beginning to affect the party’s psych ahead of crucial elections, adding that attempts were being made to engage the Bulawayo legislator.
“I think it’s a matter of public record really that VP Khuphe does have issues that she is not happy about and these are the issues that we as a leadership are dealing with and I am happy that VP Mudzuri is going to engage her on the issues of her concern,” Mwonzora said.
He added, “If the acting President Mudzuri does not succeed, then President Tsvangirai will have to deal with the issues.”
Reports said this week that some MDC-T officials were becoming increasingly impatient with Khuphe’s behaviour and were planning to confront and possibly throw her out of the party.
Mwonzora appealed to loyalists to exercise restraint as the party tries all possible means to persuade one of its leaders to play ball.
“As the secretary general myself, I am trying to discuss with a number of leaders with the intention of making the party more united and more focused externally than internally,” he said.
“We are going to do everything possible to ensure that we bring the leaders together rather than apart.
“I therefore call upon the entire leadership of the party to desist from making pronouncements that undermine party unity.
“To that end, we call upon respect from all the leaders especially in the presidium.
“It is in that respect that we are looking very, very closely and seriously at whatever may be the cause of concern on the part of Vice President Khuphe with a view of resolving it as a party.”
– New Zimbabwe