FORMER MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, has advised MDC Alliance MPs to accept Thokozani Khupe as their new leader or risk being recalled from parliament.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa was not the legitimate leader of the main opposition after finding his controversial ascension to the apex of his party soon after the death of founding party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018 violated sections of the party’s constitution.
At the time, Khupe was the only elected party vice president while Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri were appointed co-vice presidents by Tsvangirai in 2016.
But on the news of Tsvangirai’s death to colon cancer in South Africa February 2018, Chamisa did not lose time to railroad party organs to declare him interim leader, igniting fierce protests from Khupe, who was adamant she had sole the right to play party caretaker as processes were made to find a substantive Tsvangirai replacement.
Khupe, Gutu and a handful disgruntled party politicians left MDC in frustration and formed their own splinter group which retained the name MDC-T while Chamisa changed to MDC Alliance, a few months before the July elections.
However, both the High Court and Supreme Court have ruled the party should revert to its 2014 structures and Khupe should organise an extraordinary congress within the next 90 days.
Unpacking the judgment in an interview with NewZim TV Monday, Gutu said Khupe now wielded power in both the MDC formations and could recall the MPs and councillors voted into office on the MDC Alliance ticket if they did not comply with her orders.
“After the death of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC now will have a substantive leader after the extraordinary congress,” Gutu said.
“Any deployee to parliament or council who conducts themselves in such a way that they are disobeying party policy or refuse to recognise the leader, believe you me, the new leader, now the acting president who happens to be Thokozani Khupe can easily invoke section 129 (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and recall all renegade members of parliament who were elected under the MDC Alliance ticket. She can actually do it now,” Gutu said.
The MDC Alliance has 87 seats in Parliament. The party is also in control of all local councils in towns and cities. Khupe’s MDC-T has two MPs.
However, senior officials and supporters of Chamisa dismissed last week’s court ruling as inconsequential, claiming Khupe had since formed her own political party and could not claim to be part of the MDC Alliance.
Gutu continued, “I have heard people on social media giving so-called solidarity messages rubbishing the Supreme Court judgment. That to me is a serious act of misconduct which is strong enough to have those people recalled.”
Meanwhile, Gutu said he would make sure that Chamisa repaid millions of dollars that were unlawfully paid to his political formation by Treasury under the Political Parties Finance Act in the run-up to the 2018 elections.
“You cannot compare our 2018 election campaign in the (MDC-T) to MDC Alliance which had a huge chunk of money that they were unlawfully and illegitimately getting through the Political Parties Finance Act. By the way we want that money back.”
Gutu was evasive on how he also planned to be part of the new developments, having dumped politics few months ago citing “personal reasons”.