Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
OPPOSITION leader Dr Thokozani Khupe yesterday declared that the MDC-T had split into two formations and she has assumed the presidency, accusing party leader Mr Douglas Mwonzora of violating the party constitution.
Dr Khupe, who was the vice president before the fallout said this during a press conference at McDonald’s Hall in Mzilikazi, Bulawayo.
When she announced the split, hundreds of party members, clad in red t-shirts that had Dr Khupe’s face, went into a frenzy, cheering her on.
On Thursday, Mr Mwonzora’s spokesperson Mr Witness Dube said Dr Khupe together with her loyalist and former party spokesperson Mr Khaliphani Phugeni had been suspended.
It was alleged that Dr Khupe was suspended for taking MDC-T matters to court.
Yesterday, at the press conference, Dr Khupe said the political union between the two was over.
“It is in this vein that today, the 21st day of January the year of our Lord 2022, we, who are gathered here and many others scattered around the country who could not make it to this very important event, declare an official split of our beloved party the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T).
There are now two MDC-T formations, one led by yours truly Dr Thokozani Khupe, who is also the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly and the other. We are announcing this with a heavy heart because this is not what we wanted, but circumstances beyond our control have forced us to do this,” said Dr Khupe.
“This marriage is irreconcilable as we have a group that is determined to violate and mutilate the party constitution every step of the way and a group that is always guided by the dictates of the constitution and has a leadership that always, I repeat, always upholds and defends the constitution.”
She said the split is because of a litany of alleged constitutional violations by Mr Mwonzora such as rigging elections and using violence and declared him an illegitimate leader of the main opposition party.
“Mwonzora has for many times without number, violated the constitution of the party during his term as president of the party.
Mwonzora is an illegitimate president who is a product of a rigged extraordinary congress which did not form a quorum.
It’s the thirteenth month since the extraordinary congress and not even a single structure was dissolved from branch level to provincial level to allow for the ordinary congress to take place according to the dictates of the constitution,” said Dr Khupe.
She said Mr Mwonzora’s MDC Alliance was a different formation from the original signatories of the late MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai who signed with other opposition principals.
“The composite political cooperation agreement was signed by the late Dr Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T), Prof Welshman (MDC), Tendai Biti (PDP), Jacob Ngarivhume (Transform Zimbabwe), Mathias Guchutu (MCD) and Denford Musiyarira (Zanu Ndonga) and Agrippa Mutambara (ZIMPF) at the Zimbabwe Grounds where the above-mentioned principals appended their signatures.
Mwonzora has now formed a new Alliance with the likes of Lucia Matibenga of PDP which was part of former Vice President Mujuru led People’s Rainbow Coalition and Shupikai Mandaza of MDC-N. This is a completely new and different pact.
In addition to that, Mwonzora has already notified ZEC that he will contest the upcoming by elections under the MDC-A party,” she said.
“In doing so, Mwonzora has fired himself because in terms of the MDC-T constitution Article 5.10 (a); membership of the party shall be terminated if a member joins or supports a political party other than the MDC-T (termination of members in these circumstances is automatic).”
Dr Khupe said Mr Mwonzora went on to recall several MDC Alliance MPs and councillors such as Mr Josiah Makombe from Gweru, which was a clear indication that he was no longer a member of MDC-T.
“Surely with all these transgressions, Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora cannot continue at the helm of a democratic party such as the MDC-T.
As deputy president I played my part in advising him in terms of my constitutional role in article 9.2.1, which clearly states that; It shall be the duty of the deputy president to assist the president in the exercise of this or her powers, functions and administrative duties as provided for in this constitution,” added Dr Khupe.
Dr Khupe said she was pleading with other political players not to interfere with the internal politics of MDC-T. She said Parliament, as a legislative organ of the State, must desist from taking sides.