Dr Thokozani Khupe has officially notified the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that she will represent MDC in the 2018 Presidential election.
Referring to herself as MDC acting president, she said the party would also participate in local government and parliamentary polls.
After her notification to Zec, a faction led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa said it had expelled her from the party, alongside organising secretary Mr Abednigo Bhebhe and spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu.
Zec Acting Chief Elections Officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana confirmed receipt of Dr Khupe’s notification.
“Yes, she notified Zec of intention to (participate in the elections),” he said.
On March 20, 2018, Dr Khupe wrote to Zec saying: “This letter serves to notify and inform you that the Movement for Democratic Change, under the leadership of Dr Thokozani Khupe, shall be contesting and participating in local, parliamentary and presidential elections as they may constitutionally occur.
“We, accordingly, request that you extend your invitation to participate in meetings and programmes for political parties which the commission periodically convenes.”
Dr Khupe could not be reached for comment while Mr Bhebhe said he was “busy in a meeting”.
She, however, told a gathering in Bulawayo last week that her faction would retain the party name and convene an elective congress in April.
Her spokesperson Mr Witness Dube told our sister paper The Sunday News, “Chamisa is a poster boy of violating constitutionalism through violence and tribal and gender discrimination. He has no legal footing whatsoever to lead even his faction and expelling the constitutional acting president of MDC who has called for an extraordinary congress of the party set for April.
“In any case, Dr Khupe last Sunday dissociated herself from Chamisa and his lot in order to continue on the true path towards reaching the founding vision and values of the MDC.”
Mr Gutu added, “What happened on Friday (the alleged expulsion) is a joke that is not even funny. If we want to be entertained, we would rather go to a proper circus. Theirs is a circus that does not provide entertainment; that is how cheap it is.
“How are we fired from an organisation which we are not part of? As you all know, we were in Bulawayo last Sunday. We had a very successful rally where we made it very clear and unambiguous that we are dissociating ourselves from an organisation that does not respect the constitution and is driven by violence, intolerance and thuggery.
“We are the real, rightful and legitimate MDC that believes in constitutionalism. This is why we are working with our structures to arrange an extraordinary congress in April where we will be electing a legitimate president.”
Spokesperson for the Chamisa faction Ms Thabitha Khumalo shot back: “What congress are they talking about? Maybe they are talking of another political party which is not MDC because as far as we are concerned, the supreme decision-making body of the party made a decision to expel them and that will not change.”
Dr Khupe and Adv Chamisa have been fighting to take over from Mr Tsvangirai who died in February 2018.
The tussle turned nasty at Mr Tsvangirai’s burial in Buhera where Dr Khupe and members of her faction were nearly assaulted and burnt in a hut. Police saved the situation.
Further violence erupted afterwards as supporters of the two factions clashed in Bulawayo.