Leader of Opposition in Parliament Thokozani Khupe has refused to vacate the position to pave way for MDC-T’s newly elected president Douglas Mwonzora, triggering a fresh row in Zimbabwe’s second largest opposition political formation, insiders said this week.
A leader of Opposition in Parliament enjoys the same perks as of a cabinet minister.
Last week, Business Times reported that top MDC-T leaders—Mwonzora, deputy president Elias Mudzuri, Khupe (who was also appointed deputy president but is yet to publicly accept that position) and the party’s national chairman, Morgan Komichi were supposed to meet—to fast track Mwonzora’s elevation as the official Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
The meeting, however, did not take place after it emerged that Khupe was adamant she would not let go her position in Parliament on a silver platter.
She is ready to fight, well-placed sources told Business Times.
The MDC-T leadership is now understood to be in sixes and sevens after the latest development.
Well-placed sources within the party’s leadership told Business Times that situation was tense in the camp with Mwonzora and Khupe not agreeing on the way forward over matter.
“Our party leaders are yet to agree on the position of leader of opposition in Parliament,” Witness Dube, MDC-T spokesperson told Business Times.
“We were supposed to have a meeting last week as leaders of the party and finalise the matter, but it did not happen.
“I understand our principal wants the matter to be discussed together with the reappointment of Mudzuri as one of the vice presidents and Komichi as the chairman of the party.”
Komichi confirmed that Khupe and Mwonzora were not singing from the same song sheet.
“Madam Khupe does not want to give away her post as leader of opposition in Parliament arguing that there is need for proper procedures to be followed and that she must be allowed to finish her tenure as leader of opposition,” Komichi told Business Times this week.
In December, Mwonzora defeated Khupe, Komichi and Mudzuri for the top post at the party’s Supreme Court sanctioned extraordinary congress to replace the late Morgan Tsvangirai who died in 2018.
Khupe, however, dismissed Mwonzora’s victory alleging that the polls were marred by rigging and she would challenge the results.
Soon after being declared president of MDC-T, Mwonzora appointed his fierce rival Khupe as the opposition party’s vice president together with Mudzuri.
Komichi was also appointed as the party’s national chairman.
Mudzuri and Komichi accepted the appointments but,it is unclear whether Khupe had accepted the new position.
She was unavailable for comment.
Last week, Justice Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told Business Times that government and ZANU-PF would not interfere in the running and administration of the opposition party and was ready to recognise Mwonzora as the leader of opposition in Parliament if the party informs the government in writing.
“We know that they had Mudzuri as leader in the Senate and Khupe in the lower house with Khupe being the senior leader. If they inform us that Mwonzora is now their leader in Parliament, we will recognise that,” Ziyambi said.