The war of words between rival MDC leaders — Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa — is intensifying.
Yesterday, Khupe’s party tore into the MDC’s 19th anniversary celebrations planned for tomorrow, describing the commemorations as a façade.
Khupe’s spokesperson, Khaliphani Phugeni, said Chamisa and those he leads have deviated from the values and principles of the original MDC — founded by Morgan Tsvangirai in 1999.
“I am not sure what they are celebrating when they specialise in bigotry, violence, insults, propaganda and blatant lies like Zanu PF,” Phugeni said.
“The real MDC was started as a response to the then prevailing conditions in the country such as tribalism, marginalisation, unaccountability and non-democratic space by the Zanu PF government but through his party, Chamisa has displayed all those things”.
The original MDC was formed in 1999, as a labour-backed party.
Khupe crossed swords with the youthful Chamisa during a contest to succeed Tsvangirai, who succumbed to cancer of the colon in February this year.
Tsvangirai had three deputies namely Khupe, Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri, who were all gunning for the top office in the MDC.
Before the former trade unionist could be buried, Chamisa pulled a fast one on Khupe and Mudzuri by hastily convening a meeting at the party’s headquarters where he was appointed acting MDC president.
In days that followed, he was made the substantive MDC leader.
Regardless, Khupe also declared herself as the legitimate MDC leader, resulting in a long-drawn dispute which is now before the courts.
Khupe insists her party is the real MDC and would soon announce a date for their 19th anniversary celebrations, which had to be put on ice due to the outbreak of cholera.
Chamisa’s party had also postponed its anniversary celebrations, now scheduled for tomorrow at Gwanzura Stadium after a long struggle to get police clearance.
Khupe’s party accused Chamisa of abusing the mantra of democracy when in reality he is just pushing a personal project.
“It is obvious that we are leading in MDC and we are recognised in the courts as the remnant of a party that was led by the late Tsvangirai,” Phugeni said.
“Everyone knows how Chamisa violently created his own faction and we won’t attend the cabal’s celebrations, we will have our own celebrations as the real MDC”.
Phungeni said Khupe’s party will never make peace with Chamisa, alleging the 40-year-old was tribal and sexist.
“We cannot be part of a man who sings democracy during the day and at night is busy working out a plan on how to persecute genuine democrats, women and the minorities in our country,” Phugeni said.
“He may fool those that he is fooling but I think the whole world knows that he is a violent young man who is no different from Zanu PF, if not worse,” she said.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Nkululeko Sibanda, Chamisa’s spokesperson, said Khupe must realise that they have since moved on.
Sibanda said everything his boss has done has been about integration, transformation, prosperity, progress, and that remains his focus.
Adding that Chamisa intends to save Zimbabwe from government’s catastrophic rule and unprecedented breakneck speed economic decline.