Freed after two years in prison, Yvonne Musarurwa gives orders to district officers who had converged at Gutu and Chikowere law firm — the defacto Harare Headquarters for Thokozani Khupe’s break-away MDC formation.
As the recently elected organising secretary it’s her duty to recruit members, rally support, impart the party ideology and coordinate party structures.
It’s by no means an easy task for Musarurwa who on an afternoon like this, three months ago, was cleaning toilets and showers at Chikurubi Female Prison.
The only recruitment she could have done was perhaps encourage a non-voting constituency of inmates to join opposition politics.
It is far from the task she has now of invigorating a splinter group which is already perceived as an enemy among opposition ranks.
But for Musarurwa who was serving a 20-year jail term for the murder of police inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View in 2011 before being plucked out of the fire by a presidential amnesty, Khupe is not only the real deal but the legitimate leader of the MDC.
She admits her decision to dump the Nelson Chamisa-led faction has brought her scorn but is adamant she made the right move and in time Zimbabweans will appreciate her for it.
“I am in over a dozen of WhatsApp groups and on various social media platforms, everywhere I turn zvirikunzi Yvonne ihu**, he akatengwa ne
Zanu PF but my brother I am not the first convict to be given amnesty,” she says.
She points to a headline in the reader’s section of a local newspaper paper which screamed Yvonne needs prayers.
“You know it’s not everyone who is accusing me of doing the wrong thing,” she says. “There are some who appreciate what I have done and some who care enough to ask me and I have always taken time to explain to them, that I follow what the party’s constitution says.
“We are not fighting Chamisa, what we are doing is for the people of Zimbabwe. I have not done anything wrong; I have only followed what is in the constitution of the MDC which stipulates that the party’s leader is elected through Congress.”
Musarurwa had backed Chamisa upon her release from prison and openly chanted ‘‘Chamisa Chete Chete’’ during an MDC Alliance rally.
“When I came out of prison, I knew very little of what was happening in the party,” she says of that episode.
“I assumed that things were as I left them except for the unfortunate death of Save. When I heard about the death of Save while I was in jail, I can say that was the saddest day of my political life because our relationship was that of father and daughter.”
Musarurwa said she had not deviated from the MDC principles saying Tsvangirai would have wanted to see the opposition follow its own constitution in choosing his successor.
It’s a thin line and argument which has been raging in the MDC with Chamisa insisting he is the legitimate chosen through the party’s national council.
The fight for control of the MDC has also seen Chamisa’s faction dismissing Khupe’s congress, claiming it had only less than one percent of the bona fide party structures.
They claim Chamisa has the energy and charisma to steer the MDC ship into an election.
Musarurwa disagrees and insists Khupe has the experience and maturity to win the forthcoming election.
It is not clear, though, if Zimbabwe is ready for a female president.