Outspoken MDC legislator Eddie Cross has warned that the party’s vice president Thokozani Khupe is likely to face disciplinary action if she continues to oppose Nelson Chamisa, who was recently endorsed as the party’s acting president.
Khupe is at loggerheads with pro-Chamisa officials in the MDC over the opposition party’s leadership, and has since declared that she will not recognise his ascendency to power, declaring herself the acting president by virtue of being the only elected vice president unlike Chamisa and his counterpart Elias Mudzuri, who were both appointed by the late Morgan Tsvangirai.
Cross — also MDC policy coordinator general — told Southern News that it was clear Khupe was fighting a losing battle, hence she needed to reform for the purposes of unity in the party.
“The support for Chamisa is overwhelming,” he said.
“That is over. If Khupe persists she may be disciplined or lose her membership. All other leaders have accepted the inevitable,” Cross said.
The Bulawayo South MP dismissed the notion that the current leadership squabbles in the party will have an effect on the electorate come election time.
“It only affects the standing committee, at the grass roots there is almost complete support,” he said.
Cross also dismissed another widely held belief that Khupe was influential in the Matabeleland region, hence there was need to treat her issue with care.
“That is nonsense — she (Khupe) is delusional,” Cross curtly said.
Turning to the forthcoming election, Cross said President Emmerson Mnangagwa will face a tough election opponent in the name of Chamisa.
He said Mnangagwa has to fulfil his promises he made to the people upon his inauguration or risk facing a humiliating defeat.
“I think ED (Mnangagwa) has a real battle on his hands and will struggle against Chamisa. An upset is very possible especially if ED is unable to deliver.”
Cross has a reputation of being open-minded and forthright, which has earned him friends and foes alike.
Last year, he escaped disciplinary action by a whisker after he openly spoke about Tsvangirai’s health, which conservative members of the MDC felt was too intrusive.
Efforts to get Khupe’s comment were unsuccessful as her personal assistant, Witness Dube, did not respond to messages.