MDC-T deputy president, Thokozani Khupe has scoffed at the seven-day ultimatum she was given by the party’s national council last week to acknowledge Nelson Chamisa’s appointment as her boss or risk expulsion from the opposition party.
Khupe told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that she would not recognise Chamisa’s “un-procedural” elevation, arguing the MDC-T national council had no mandate to make such key decisions.
“The national council cannot give me an ultimatum. It does not have the power to do that. I can only be given an ultimatum by congress. The national council does not and has no power to elect leaders,” she said.
“I was elected at congress in 2014 along with our late leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. That means, in his absence, I should be acting president. Chamisa and (Elias) Mudzuri were appointed by president Tsvangirai.”
Khupe said she would not have a problem with Chamisa if he had been elected by congress.
“The question is why they are afraid of congress if they believe that they are so popular. We must stick to the values and principles that define the MDC. We are of the belief that our colleagues have deviated from the character and culture that defines the MDC, that of social democracy and non-violence, the values of non-discrimination on ethnic and gender,” she said.
“The so-called national council meetings that are being bandied about were un-procedural and I do not recognise any of their resolutions. Constitutionally I am the acting president of the MDC-T.”
Khupe said she was ready to engage Chamisa “as long as he respects the constitution of the party and we respect each other according to our positions in the party”.
“Violence and anarchy will not win,” she said.
Khupe also told South African broadcaster, SABC that she was preparing to contest the upcoming elections.
“We will work hard and show them we have the people. We will win the elections and we are the true MDC,” she said effectively declaring a split in the party.
The embattled former deputy prime minister has since last year been locked in a vicious succession fight with Chamisa and has allegedly been assaulted three times by youth aligned to the new party leader.
The latest attack was at the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial offices on Sunday, where her aide, Witness Dube, was assaulted alongside 15 other activists during clashes with Chamisa’s alleged allies.
MDC-T acting spokesperson, Tabitha Khumalo yesterday blamed Khupe for Sunday’s skirmishes.
“She is to blame because you cannot go to a province and hold illegal meetings without the knowledge of the elected leadership,” she said.
Asked what would happen to the ultimatum, Khumalo said: “We had sent emissaries to engage them, but given what transpired at the weekend, the national council resolution would have to be implemented. They (Khupe, national chairman, Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe) will be suspended pending disciplinary hearing.”