MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe has claimed that she now fears for her life, hence her decision to boycott all meetings held at the opposition party’s Harvest House headquarters in Harare, as she continues to receive threatening messages from youths from a rival camp.
Khupe’s personal assistant, Witness Dube, said the culture of violence that has pervaded the MDC-T had made it impossible for her to attend last Friday’s standing committee meetings and any other party activities before and after the death of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai early this month.
“This is a group of people who are now determined to use violence as a way of out-manoeuvring and outflanking Dr Khupe. Right now Dr Khupe as acting president had given direction that we hold a standing committee meeting, but there arise serious questions to do with her security. She is not guaranteed to make it to those meetings. Meanwhile, this isolation, this use of violence is meant to isolate her from party activities so that people can go ahead and claim whatever position and whatever leadership action they want,” he said.
Khupe has since the launch of the MDC Alliance not been attending MDC-T standing committee, national executive and national council meetings, citing security concerns since her assault by suspected rowdy party youths in Bulawayo last year.
She even refused to meet Tsvangirai at his Highlands home to discuss the matter in September last year.
Dube defended his boss, saying she was not opposed to the MDC Alliance and was not boycotting meetings of the party, but instead was opposed to dictatorship exhibited by her late boss in inking the alliance deal.
“What Dr Khupe is against is the unilateralism in decision-making. In principle, she has agreed to the alliance, but this needed to be thrashed by parties. There was no need for people to go under the cover of darkness and thrash out a document without involving everyone. That document by now is still not in the public and has never been discussed by the MDC-T national council,” he said.
Party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora confirmed Khupe’s security fears.
“I am aware that she has been receiving threatening messages and she told me as the administrator of Harvest House… unfortunately the events in Bhurea lead credence to this claims and until and unless we deal with these elements as a party without fear or favor, then it is difficult to guarantee anyone safety including our leaders,” said Mwonzora.
He said Khupe was not boycotting meetings but was staying away for her safety, saying he hoped that this would be dealt with by the party.
But, youth leader Happymore Chidziva said Khupe should not paint the party as a violent institution which did not respect its leaders.
“We are not aware as to who is after our vice-president, we respect her and are also worried on her absence at crucial party meetings. Nobody wants to beat out the vice-president, that is not the culture of this party and the youths, let her give other reasons,” he said.