SENIOR STAFF WRITER
ACTING MDC leader Thokozani Khupe was yesterday treated to a standing ovation from almost all legislators across the political spectrum after she vowed to dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa despite critics labelling her a sell-out, the Daily News reports.
Debating Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) in the National Assembly, Khupe said as the new leader of the opposition in Parliament she would not only concentrate on criticising the government but also proffer solutions.
“Dialogue is the catalyst of national healing and it energises the people. After every election, we must expeditiously come out of election mode. We need to collectively deal with the toxic political environment that exists in the country and inculcate values of peace, love and prosperity.
“We want transformative leadership so as the leader of the opposition in Parliament, I am going to dialogue with the president for the good of the people. I know that there are people out there who have this notion that when you dialogue with the president you are selling out. I would rather be a sell-out if I am doing it for the good of the over 14 million Zimbabweans,” Khupe said to thunderous applause from both MDC and Zanu PF MPs.
The former deputy prime minister in the 2009-2013 inclusive government said the role of the opposition was not solely to criticise government, but also to give solutions as an alternative government.
“I want to state categorically that as the MDC, we are not all about power and positions, but for the well-being of Zimbabweans. We are unlike others who when they do not get positions, want Zimbabwe to come to a standstill and that Zimbabweans must suffer.
“Once elections have come and gone, we should start helping each other to advance the country’s development agenda,” said Khupe.
Upon resuming her seat, almost all MPs stood up in unison, clapping hands.
Khupe joined the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) as the presidential candidate of the MDC formation that she formed ahead of the July 31, 2018 elections following her breakaway from the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance.
But the Supreme Court stripped Chamisa of the leadership of the party left by the late Morgan Tsvangirai and conferred its presidency on Khupe in March.
Chamisa has refused to join Polad, insisting that Mnangagwa did not win the 2018 presidential election and has no locus standi to call for dialogue when his legitimacy was being questioned despite the Constitution Court throwing out the 43-year-old politician’s challenge.
On the other hand, Khupe has been on the forefront for calling Chamisa to join the group and stop demonstrations to save his supporters from being beaten up by the police.