Khupe’s ally Phugeni clashes with Douglas Mwonzora as MDC-T bigwigs loot $24 million party funds

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THERE were fireworks at a meeting of opposition party MDC-T’s standing committee on Wednesday over allegations of looting of funds by the party’s executives.

Party deputy spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni was accused of deliberately leaking sensitive information to the Press in a bid to injure the reputation of Douglas Mwonzora and his leadership.

Khalipani Phugeni

Phugeni is a top ally of vice-president Thokozani Khupe, who lost to Mwonzora at the party’s chaotic congress in December last year.

“There was an attempt to censor Phugeni, especially his interviews on Gambakwe News (an online television station based in South Africa). The standing committee members also accused him of leaking documents and internal party conversations to the Press,” a source who participated in the virtual meeting said.

Phugeni is said to have hit back, accusing Mwonzora of being the one responsible for leaking information and also trying to make other party members look bad except himself, said the source.

“Phugeni asked how HStv managed to break the news of the president (Mwonzora)’s meeting at the State House, when that meeting was not known by the top party leadership. He even accused Mwonzora of leaking the document he handed over to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the Press,” said the source.

Phugeni refused to comment over the matter yesterday.

“Those who leaked the details to you should give you everything. I do not speak to the Press on private meetings. I have principles, deal with those without,” he said.

After the standing committee meeting, top party leaders called HSTV offices looking for the document which Mwonzora allegedly handed over to Mnangagwa.

At the meeting, Phugeni is also said to have accused Mwonzora and the party treasury of stealing close to $24 million given to the MDC-T by government through the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

Disgruntled party member Patson Murimoga has already reported Mwonzora to the police over the missing funds and the police have confirmed investigating the MDC-T leader.

Insiders have, however, indicated that Mwonzora could have fallen out with his treasurer-general, Tapiwa Mashakada, who is also accused of stealing party funds.

“The party account is now clean, all the money has been taken out,” a top party official told NewsDay.

Party chairman Morgen Komichi professed ignorance, saying the matter was yet to get to his office.

“I am not sure about the issue of funds being stolen from the party. It has not been brought to my attention, maybe it will come,” Komichi said curtly.

In a statement, party spokesperson Witness Dube said the meeting went on smoothly, and that it endorsed the meeting between Mwonzora and Mnangagwa.

— NewsDay


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