and Blessings Mashaya
SENIOR STAFF WRITERS
THERE is a renewed push to unite Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa ahead of the MDC’s extraordinary congress slated for late next month, the Daily News reports.
This comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in a fierce tussle for control of the country’s main opposition party since the death of its much-loved founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February 2018.
The senseless infighting went a notch up following the Supreme Court’s recent judgment which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court which nullified Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the party.
Now, and ahead of the extraordinary congress — which is scheduled to go ahead without the involvement of Chamisa and some of his allies
respected MDC organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe, has called for an end to the mindless bloodletting.
Presenting a report to the party’s standing committee last week, Bhebhe said it was time for the MDC leaders to bury the hatchet in the interest of the party and the country.
“Our meeting today is founded on the reality of the divisions sponsored by our own indiscretions and admittance of the fact that there were two congresses — one at Stanley Square in Bulawayo and another at Gweru — with two leaders who contested each other in the 2018 elections.
“It is our collective responsibility to bring the two leaders to the table, whatever the stakes involved.
It has taken us literally forever to meet as a team, and I want to speak to our mandates as responsible adult citizens on whom the whole nation reposes,” Bhebhe said.
“I appeal that we be cognisant of the aspirations for liberty, prosperity and happiness of the people that look up to us for an alternative to the governance failures by the government of the day.
“Guided by the aims and objectives of the party, particularly in terms of 3.7 of the … constitution, as well as the character and culture of the party, as captured under 4.5 of the constitution, I propose that we bring together party structures from both formations, invite national executive committee and national council members from both formations.
“The different formations should start engaging and cease forthwith the fights going on in the courts,” Bhebhe added.
“We need each other if this struggle is to be won at all.
“I appeal that as leaders we cast our sights into the long run, ahead of the short-termism that manifested in the decisions, actions and choices we have taken so far, both individually and collectively in small sub groups.
“I am appealing to you as fellow trench men and women that we treat each other with one eye to sustaining the struggle against a common enemy,” Bhebhe said further.
“Closely associated with the foregoing is the politics of labelling erstwhile comrades Zanu PF, and making attempts to reach out to such matters of treachery,” the former Nkayi South legislator added.
“I am hoping we can be mature to use the courts of law in a manner which assists our struggle than one which serves to ventilate our deficiencies in the open.
“I am hopeful, fellow comrades, that I am not asking for too much on my modest request that we narrow the gaps between different groups of the same family by suppressing the basest of our intuitions as motivators of our decisions, actions and choices.
“In terms of the executing of my obligations, my task is to mobilise stakeholders eligible for the extraordinary congress which is hard upon us,” Bhebhe continued.
He added that he was going to visit all provinces in a bid to unite 2014 party structures, which he said were unnecessarily divided.
Bhebhe was subsequently given the mandate to initiate negotiations with the rival Chamisa camp.
On its part, the Chamisa group agreed that there was nothing wrong with the quest for unity, but said the Khupe camp was yet to reach out to their faction.
“Ours is a big tent, we welcome everyone. There are only a few individuals who left the party. They can come back if they want, political parties are voluntary organisations.
“Most of the people who were in the 2014 structures are in MDC Alliance. So, it’s not an issue of negotiations, but an issue of them coming back,” MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo said.
“We are Zimbabweans first. So, the nation must come first. Who are we to block them from coming to the people’s party?” he added.
All this comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in an ugly brawl for control of the party — a war that began after Tsvangirai died of colon cancer in 2018.
The fights took a turn for the worse after the Supreme Court upheld an earlier High Court ruling in March, which had nullified Chamisa’s hotly-disputed ascendancy to the helm of the MDC following Tsvangirai’s death.
The factional wars escalated further after Khupe recently seized the party’s iconic national headquarters, the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House — allegedly with the assistance of security forces.
Both Chamisa and Khupe have been criticised for failing to heal their rift and focusing on the failures of Zanu PF — whose incompetent handling of the economy has angered long-suffering Zimbabweans.
Last month, former MDC chairperson Lovemore Moyo said pointedly that the brawling between Chamisa and Khupe had “absolutely nothing to do with serving the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe”.
“The fight between the two formations is purely a power struggle. It’s about fighting for control of the soul of the MDC and president Morgan Tsvangirai’s political legacy.
“More importantly, it’s about who is who in the MDC leadership,” the now leader of the United Movement for Devolution said.
“Unfortunately, there is no winner in the on-going political fight as the two parties will significantly lose the opposition vote, supporters and credibility.
“Actually, Zanu PF will emerge the biggest winner as it stands from a divided and uncoordinated opposition come the 2023 general elections.
“Remember, the 2005 MDC split set a wrong precedent that one can disregard the party constitution, regulations and rules and still remain in charge of the party,” Moyo said further.
“In this regard, weak party structures capitulated and supported Tsvangirai in defying the national council decision on the Senate participation.
“However, it must be noted that Tsvangirai went on to build a strong and vibrant MDC that performed exceptionally well in elections,” the soft spoken former Matobo legislator said.
“My advice is very simple. Put the interests of the people of Zimbabwe first. Your personal egos and interests will always be accommodated if you deliver electoral victory in plebiscites.
“What you are doing to yourselves, tearing each other apart, especially on social media, makes Zanu PF smile. Focus on the ball.
“None of the two parties is holding the ball. It’s Zanu PF that is currently holding and playing the ball,” Moyo added.