THE MDC’s mindless infighting continues to escalate – with the tension between interim party leader Thokozani Khupe and her secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora now said to be approaching breaking point.
So toxic has this relationship become, that well-placed sources told the DailyNews yesterday that Mwonzora and Khupe’s spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni almost came to blows at the weekend.
This comes as Khupe and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa have been engaged in a hammer and tongs war over control of the country’s biggest opposition party.
The sources who spoke to the DailyNews yesterday said at the centre of Khupe and Mwonzora’s fights was the alleged desire by both to control the recall of MDC legislators and councillors, including the decision on who would replace the recalled members.
Matters apparently came to a head during a national standing committee meeting at the weekend, where Phugeni allegedly confronted Mwonzora – accusing him of not consulting other leaders before recalling party MPs and councillors.
It is claimed that last week’s recall of Harare mayor Herbert Gomba and five other councillors was the final straw.
On the other hand, Mwonzora is said to be very unhappy with Khupe – allegedly for not consulting him when she nominated herself to become MP along with Phugeni and others, to fill the vacancies left by legislators who were recalled for supporting Chamisa.
Phugeni declined to comment on the alleged party infighting and his altercation with Mwonzora yesterday.
“I do not want to discuss what happens in the national standing committee with the media,” he said.
The party’s national chairperson, Morgen Komichi, also declined to discuss the matter, while Mwonzora would only say “I am currently in a meeting over that”.
Apart from nominating herself and her spokesperson, Khupe also appointed Yvonne Musarurwa, Lindani Moyo, January Sawuke, Memory Munochinzwa, Lwazi Sibanda, Sipho Mokone, Molly Ndlovu, Tamani Moyo, Gertrude Moyo, Piniel Denga, Chief Ndluvu, Nomalanga Khumalo and Teti Chisorochengwe as MPs.
A national standing committee member who witnessed Mwonzora and Phugeni’s altercation described it as “nasty”.
“Phugeni confronted Mwonzora, accusing him of dictatorial tendencies and equating him to Chamisa, saying he was worse than (the late former president Robert) Mugabe.
“Mwonzora reacted angrily and grabbed Phugeni by the collar, threatening to beat him up before he was restrained by Komichi,” the insider told the Daily News.
This comes as the senseless wars consuming the MDC continue to deepen, with neither Khupe nor Chamisa seemingly able to stabilise the troubled party – to the obvious glee of Zanu-PF.
The MDC has been consumed by its senseless ructions ever since its much-loved founding father Morgan Tsvangirai died from colon cancer in February 2018.
The party’s infighting escalated after the controversial Supreme Court’s judgment earlier this year which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court that nullified Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the country’s biggest opposition party.