‘Talk to Khupe to end MDC’s wars’ … Chamisa told as party burns, Zanu PF rejoices
NELSON Chamisa, left, has everything to gain by embracing the growing calls for unity talks between him and interim MDC leader Thokozani Khupe — and everything to lose by spurning the mooted dialogue, analysts say.
This comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in a fierce tussle for the control of the country’s main opposition party ever since its much-loved founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, died of colon cancer in February 2018.
It also comes amid a renewed push by concerned MDC bigwigs for the two rivals to unite ahead of the party’s court-directed extraordinary congress, in the interest of the party and the country.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme told the Daily News yesterday that both Chamisa and Khupe needed to realise the importance of dialogue, “to create a win-win outcome” rather than continue with their current and “unsustainable zero sum game”.
He added that Chamisa also needed to understand the fact that for him and the MDC to succeed, he needed to be inclusive in his approach and to “carry everyone along, not just his favourite people only”.
“The issues matrix in that conflict is clear and the power, positions, interests and needs analysis is simple.
“None of those leaders doubt that Chamisa is more popular than all of them and that he is the best foot forward if they are to release some political shock to Zanu PF in 2023.
“The disgruntled MDC leaders just need respect and recognition, not necessarily the presidency that Chamisa has no competition on,” Saungweme told the Daily News.
“But if both sides remain headstrong, the train will just sink. Politics is not about just being legalistic and eloquent, but also about being calculative and meticulously combining this with dialogue, compromise, leadership and the law,” he said further.
Respected University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, weighed in saying Chamisa and Khupe’s differences were not “unbridgeable”.
“They are offshoots of the same stem and they worked together for a longer period than they have been adversaries. It is almost 20 years of working together, and so there is scope for unity, he said.
Masunungure also praised MDC organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe for calling for an end to the party’s mindless bloodletting — saying Bhebhe was being pragmatic given the realities that if each one of them decided to go it alone “there will be no winners”.
“It makes sense to hold a congress that resonates with the MDC base because the problems between the two leaders are basically a matter of personality, and with astute mediation unity is possible.
“Of course, there is bad blood, but there has not been any bloodshed during their political gladiation.
“If Zanu and PF Zapu could work together in the aftermath of Gukurahundi, then it is much easier for Chamisa and Khupe to work together.
“The postponement of the congress is either because Khupe’s camp is ill-prepared in terms of organisation or that they are giving unity talks a chance,” Masunugure further told the Daily News.
This comes as the MDC’s senseless infighting has gone up a notch, 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.
Contacted for a comment on the proposal by Bhebhe, Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda referred questions to MDC-Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere.
“I think if that is to happen, it will have to be the decision of the party, so you can talk to the spokesperson,” he said.
Mahere was not taking calls and did not respond to questions sent to her, despite her having requested for them in writing.
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 sustain 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 rather 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.
Both Chamisa and Khupe have been criticised heavily 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 also said pointedly that the brawling between Chamisa and Khupe had “absolutely nothing to do with serving the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe”.