SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THERE is no let-up to the mayhem devouring the divided MDC, with the party’s interim leader Thokozani Khupe now pushing to have her secretary- general Douglas Mwonzora disciplined, the Daily News reports.
This comes as Khupe and Nelson Chamisa have been involved in a similar and futile hammer and tongs war over control of the country’s biggest opposition party — to the glee of Zanu PF.
At the same time, the MDC Alliance is pulling out all the stops to block Khupe and her allies from filling the positions of party members who were recently recalled from Parliament.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that the tension between Khupe and Mwonzora had now reached boiling point, amid moves by Khupe to discipline her secretary-general over multiple allegations which include fomenting violence in the troubled party.
At the weekend, sources had also told the Daily News that the recent recall of Harare mayor Herbert Gomba and five other councillors had escalated the tension between the two party heavyweights.
“The fact that standing committee members only got to know about the recall on social media did not go down well with everyone.
“Khaliphani Phugeni (Khupe’s spokesperson) was very angry about this because what should have happened before the letter was written to these people was to bring the names recommended by the party structures to the national standing committee to go through them one by one, while also justifying why they should be recalled.
“That did not happen and this was viewed as disrespect of the standing committee. It is a punishable offence to disrespect the standing committee,” one of the sources told the Daily News.
Among other things, Mwonzora is being accused of acting unilaterally when making decisions, as well as fomenting violence in the party.
MDC national chairperson Morgen Komichi told the Daily News last night that there was gross indiscipline in the party, which had also seen violence emerging within its ranks.
“We will indeed take disciplinary measures against rogue elements in the party because we need order. We are a party that believes in constitutionalism and justice.
“We want to be a team, not a group. So, unity is necessary. We do not want to perpetuate factionalism,” Komichi said.
At the weekend, the Daily News was told that 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 such members.
Matters apparently came to a head during a recent national standing committee meeting, 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 Gomba and five other councillors was viewed as 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.
Apart from nominating herself and Phugeni, 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.
Meanwhile, Chamisa and his lieutenants are mobilising against Khupe’s bid to return to Parliament and to fill other positions of recalled MPs with her allies.
This comes as Khupe has replaced 15 of the 21 MPs that she has recalled so far.
The bid to foil Khupe and her nominees also comes as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has invited voters with objections to the replacements to exercise their rights before the vacant parliamentary seats are filled.
MDC Alliance national organising secretary, Amos Chibaya, told the Daily News yesterday that they had also deployed party officials to constituencies to mobilise voters to register their objections.
“We were given 14 days to register our objections and we have put our machinery into motion.
“As the organiser … I am tasked with overseeing that … with the help of other senior … officials who have started work in the various constituencies.
“Ordinary voters have also been irked by the decision to have their MPs replaced by people they never voted for.
“So, it is not going to be about the MDC Alliance alone, but the voters in their generality as well,” Chibaya told the Daily News.
“They understand that before elections in 2018 we went for the nomination court where aspiring candidates were supposed to name their party and its symbol, hence it does not make sense to have a party that did not sponsor their MPs’ candidature getting the power to recall them,” Chibaya added.
The move by the alliance comes as some voters in Khupe’s Bulawayo East constituency — led by Gilbert Sibanda — started objecting to the replacement of Tabitha Khumalo last weekend.
Khumalo, the current national chairperson of the MDC Alliance, was among the MPs that were recalled by Khupe in May, as she flexed her muscles in the battle for control of the MDC.
Sibanda said after holding an emergency meeting in Mahatshula, that they felt they had been given the green light by Zec to defend their vote.
“As Bulawayo East voters, we are saying during the July 2018 harmonised elections, we overwhelmingly voted for the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa.
“Our constituency and our votes contributed to the cumulative provincial votes which formed the basis for the allocation of the proportional representative seats according to the Electoral Act.
“Zec has a duty to respect our choices and should not allow the MDC … to usurp our rights to choose our preferred representatives,” Sibanda said.
“Failure to abide by this duty is a clear infringement of our rights of association as spelt out in Section 58 of the Constitution.
“The whole essence of elections the world over is for people to choose their representatives.
“Why have elections when people’s preferred candidates can be replaced by other people without the approval of their political parties?” Sibanda said further.
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 utter glee of Zanu PF.
The party has been consumed by its mindless ructions ever since its much-loved founding father Morgan Tsvangirai died from colon cancer in February 2018.
The party’s infighting escalated after the 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.