MDC-T deputy president Dr Thokozani Khupe has reportedly lost support from one of her strongholds — Bulawayo province — with the provincial executive pledging their allegiance to the party’s acting president Mr Nelson Chamisa.
Dr Khupe is among the party’s deputy presidents — together with Mr Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri who have been fighting for the control of the party before and after the death of leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
Dr Khupe has, however, been leading a group of senior party members in the Matabeleland region who have opposed the involvement of the party in the MDC Alliance coalition, which has seen them campaigning against the coalition. Their bone of contention being the allocation of parliamentary seats.
Dr Khupe, the party’s national organiser, Mr Abednigo Bhebhe and Mr Lovemore Moyo are reportedly not happy with events that led to the formation of the MDC Alliance especially the allocation of constituencies in the run up to the agreement with other parties who joined the coalition.
The MDC Alliance is made up of MDC-T, Transform Zimbabwe, Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC, Zimbabwe People First, the Multi-Racial Christian Democratic Party, People’s Democratic Party, and Zanu Ndonga. It has since emerged that Dr Khupe and her allies have lost grip of their key base of support in Bulawayo with all but two members of the provincial executive making it clear that they were aligned to Mr Chamisa and supported the party’s participation in the coalition.
Among those who have reportedly abandoned Dr Khupe is the provincial chairperson, Bulawayo deputy mayor, Councillor Gift Banda who has long been considered as her close ally. The party’s acting provincial chairperson and Bulawayo Central legislator, Ms Dorcas Sibanda said it was unfortunate that a few of their colleagues had decided to rebel and oppose unity.
“It’s a simple issue of mathematics, ask any ordinary resident in Bulawayo, not just us the executive only and they will tell you that they have always been encouraging us to unite. Besides who are we to oppose what our late president, Morgan Tsvangirai clearly stated.
“We gave the president the mandate to lead and he did, he saw the importance for us to unite and this is what we are doing until the end. It is unfortunate to some of our members who just want to oppose, they will remain by themselves in the open,” said Ms Sibanda.
Efforts to get a comment from Clr Banda were fruitless . Sources revealed that while Dr Khupe was desperately trying to maintain her grip on the province, it was now becoming a futile effort as most of executive members were already campaigning under the MDC Alliance banner.
“The only two provincial executive members who have remained loyal to Dr Khupe and her crew are women’s wing chairperson, Clr Tamani Moyo and the provincial secretary, Ms Nomvula Mguni, but their opposition is not affecting the day to day running of the party in the province as they are not even attending any meetings,” said the source.
Another source who is close to Dr Khupe revealed that the grouping was slowly realising that they were losing grip and were now resorting to approaching individual members with the hope of convincing them not to abandon ship.
“Another option is to just give in and join Chamisa because that could be the only way that they can have any dream of winning in the upcoming elections,” said the source.
Mr Chamisa has declared himself MDC-T acting president for the next 12 months although a number of party bigwigs are against the move. Dr Khupe could not be reached for comment on the issue.