THE UGLY infighting that has divided the MDC could soon come to an end, amid renewed attempts to unite Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa ahead of the party’s planned extra-ordinary congress.
At the same time, there is growing talk that the political future of re-instated MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora may be up in the air – amid suggestions that Khupe wants him cut loose from the party.
All this comes as Khupe and Chamisa are involved in a fierce tussle for the control of the country’s largest opposition party.
The brawling reached a new low last week when yobs sympathetic to Chamisa nearly assaulted Khupe again when she turned up in Gutu for the burial of the MDC Alliance leader’s mother who died last week.
Amid growing internal concerns about the senseless bloodletting in the main opposition party, as has been consistently highlighted by the Daily News and the Daily News On Sunday over the past few months, it has now emerged that there are renewed serious efforts to get Khupe and Chamisa to finally bury their long-running feud.
Khupe’s spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni all but confirmed the impending talks when he told the Daily News On Sunday yesterday that unity between Khupe and Chamisa would “revive our party to a level where it can be able to achieve what it was formed for”.
“What I know is that when Chamisa’s mother died, his people called Khupe to inform her as well as to confirm if she would be coming.
“After that, Khupe called Chamisa who appreciated the gesture. While I am not aware of the unity talks, would it be a bad idea if they worked together?
“Isn’t it that the unity will revive the party and enable it to achieve the goals for which it was formed? All opposition parties should work together,” Phugeni told the Daily News On Sunday.
On his part, Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said he needed to consult his boss first before he could comment on the matter.
While the Daily News On Sunday’s sources did not reveal the scope and nature of the talks, they insisted that Khupe and Chamisa intended to end their bitter feud and unite the party as soon as possible.
The development comes amid reports that in her quest to unite with Chamisa, Khupe was now allegedly pushing for the suspension of Mwonzora – who is said to be bitterly opposed to Chamisa and his top allies.
Quizzed on this, Phugeni told the Daily News On Sunday that Mwonzora was allegedly peddling this information as part of his campaign for the position of president of the party ahead of the MDC’s planned extra-ordinary congress.
“That has been coming strongly from Mwonzora’s campaign team that the party wants to expel him. It is unfortunate that they are running his campaign on the basis of lies. But they will not succeed.
“We had hoped that the party had come of age. But we are shocked that they are doing exactly what we accused Chamisa of doing. They are telling lies and running a dirty campaign,” he said.
Mwonzora could not be reached yesterday for comment.
All this comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in an ugly brawl for the control of the party – a war that began ever since the death of the MDC’s much-loved founding father, Morgan Tsvangirai, from colon cancer in 2018.
The fights took a turn for the worse after the Supreme Court upheld an earlier High Court ruling in March, which nullified Chamisa’s hotly-disputed ascendancy to the helm of the MDC following Tsvangirai’s death.
The factional wars escalated even further after Khupe seized the party’s iconic national headquarters, the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House – allegedly with the assistance of State security forces.
In addition Khupe has also recalled 21 MPs and senators from Parliament, as she has flexed her muscles in the mindless infighting.
The ugly brawling was further brought to the fore last week when some misguided yobs harassed and tried to beat up Khupe – when she joined other mourners at Chamisa’s mother’s funeral in Gutu.
The disgraceful scenes – which once again laid bare the MDC’s senseless wars, and the depths the party has plumbed in recent years – only died down when the grieving Chamisa intervened.
Khupe was among scores of high-profile mourners who had come to grieve with the Chamisa family, following this week’s sudden death of the MDC Alliance leader’s mother.
The drama had similar echoes to the barbaric scenes of February 2018 – when party ruffians said to be loyal to Chamisa tried to burn Khupe in a hut during the burial in Buhera of Tsvangirai.
Then, hooligans said to be loyal to Chamisa tried to burn Khupe, then legislator Lwazi Sibanda and Mwonzora in a hut during Tsvangirai’s funeral at Humanikwa Village.
At the time, Khupe and Chamisa were already wrangling over who was supposed to lead the MDC.
Both Chamisa and Khupe have been criticised for failing to heal their rift and focusing on the failures of Zanu-PF – whose incompetent handling of the economy has stirred anger among long-suffering Zimbabweans.
Former MDC chairperson Lovemore Moyo recently said the brawling between Chamisa and Khupe had “absolutely nothing to do with serving the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe”.
“The fight between the two formations is purely a power struggle. It’s about fighting for control of the soul of the MDC and president Morgan Tsvangirai’s political legacy.
“More importantly, it’s about who is who in the MDC leadership,” the now leader of the United Movement for Devolution said.
“Unfortunately, there is no winner in the on-going political fight as the two parties will significantly lose the opposition vote, supporters and credibility.
“Actually, Zanu-PF will emerge the biggest winner as it stands from a divided and uncoordinated opposition come the 2023 general elections.
“Remember, the 2005 MDC split set a wrong precedent that one can disregard the party constitution, regulations and rules and still remain in charge of the party,” Moyo said further.
“In this regard, weak party structures capitulated and supported Tsvangirai in defying the national council decision on the Senate participation.
“However, it must be noted that Tsvangirai went on to build a strong and vibrant MDC that performed exceptionally well in elections,” the soft spoken former Matobo legislator said.
“My advice is very simple. Put the interests of the people of Zimbabwe first. Your personal egos and interests will always be accommodated if you deliver electoral victory in plebiscites.
“What you are doing to yourselves, tearing each other apart, especially on social media, makes Zanu-PF smile. Focus on the ball.
“None of the two parties is holding the ball. It’s Zanu-PF that is currently holding and playing the ball.”