Takunda Maodza, Harare Bureau
MDC-T co-vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe yesterday insisted she is the acting president of the party, as per constitution and that anyone claiming the position was violating the rule book.
There is an ugly fight within the MDC-T over who takes over from Mr Morgan Tsvangirai who died of cancer of the colon in a South African hospital last week and was buried on Tuesday at his rural home in Buhera.
The internal fights have seen MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu quitting the opposition outfit in which co-vice president Advocate Nelson Chamisa has claimed the throne.
The fights also manifested at the burial of Mr Tsvangirai where Dr Khupe, secretary general Mr Douglas Mwonzora and organising secretary Mr Abednigo Bhebhe were assaulted.
The violence received widespread condemnation even from MDC-T associates and sponsors.
In a statement yesterday, Dr Khupe was adamant that constitutionally she is the acting MDC-T president and not Adv Chamisa.
“Following the tragic passing on and the burial of our dear leader president Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai it is important that the party returns to normalcy. This can only be done if the party goes back to its constitution. It is clear from reading of clause 220.127.116.11 that among other office bearers the deputy presidents are members of the Standing Committe. However, they have to be elected by congress,” said Dr Khupe.
Adv Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri were appointed to the vice presidency by Mr Tsvangirai.
“Clause 9.2 makes provision for the duties of the deputy president. It does not make provisions for the duties of the additional deputy presidents. The deputy president in clause in clause 9.2 can only be the deputy president elected by congress. Clause 9.21.1 provides that in the event of the death of the president, the deputy president assumes the role of the acting president pending the holding of the extraordinary congress within a year,” said Dr Khupe.
She added: “The deputy president is the deputy president provided for in clause 9.2 that is to say the one elected by congress. There is therefore no role of the national council to elect an acting president because this is already provided for in the constitution. To that end I am the acting president of the MDC-T as provided for in both clause 9.2 and clause 9.21.1 of the constitution.”
Dr Khupe said any other process that sought to circumvent the operation of the constitution was null and void.
“Therefore as acting president I make the following orders: (a) That an extraordinary congress to elect a substantive president of the party should be held within a month. To that end, the secretary general is ordered in terms of clause 9.5.1 to ensure that the extraordinary congress is convened. (b)That the standing committee of the party shall convene immediately and at any rate (date) not later than Friday the 23rd of February 2018, (c) that disciplinary action be carried out against all the leaders behind violence that occurred during Dr Tsvangirai’s funeral.”