Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
MDC-T president Advocate Nelson Chamisa yesterday said his estranged deputy, Dr Thokozani Khupe, who on Sunday announced her split from the opposition party, is free to leave.
Dr Khupe leads a breakaway faction in the MDC-T consisting of the national organising secretary Mr Abednego Bhebhe and national spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu among other members.
Addressing a rally in Bulawayo on Sunday, Dr Khupe announced that she was parting ways with the Adv Chamisa faction but will retain the MDC-T name.
The split follows power struggles pitting Dr Khupe and Adv Chamisa that have rocked the MDC-T since the death of their founding president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai last month.
The differences have resulted in violent skirmishes and court challenges.
Dr Khupe said she can no longer be part of the Adv Chamisa-led MDC-T accusing the other faction of being violent.
In an interview, Adv Chamisa’s spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka said the MDC-T will not stop Dr Khupe from leaving.
“We would have loved to work together but if she has taken a decision to walk away, then so be it. This is not a faction, this is the party,” he said.
Mr Tamborinyoka said Dr Khupe’s issue has nothing to do with Adv Chamisa but the party’s organs that elevated him to lead MDC-T.
“This is now not a bilateral issue between her and president Chamisa. It’s an issue between vice president Khupe and the organs of the party. The organs are the national council and the national executive and they have already taken a position regarding this issue. This is an issue between Madam Khupe and the party,” he said.
Mr Tamborinyoka said Dr Khupe failed to heed the party’s calls to shape up in the stipulated seven day ultimatum.
“Now you are telling us that she says she is walking away. It’s up to the party but the party has already pronounced itself, it gave her seven days to shape up,” he said.
In announcing her breakaway, Dr Khupe said she would soon join a coalition with like-minded political parties while Mr Gutu said their outfit was going to join the Dr Joice Mujuru led People’s Rainbow Coalition.
Mr Bhebhe said Sunday’s rally was a demonstration that even the minority and the vulnerable had a voice.
The MDC has since its formation in 1999 been synonymous with splits whenever party members disagree.
In 2005, the party has its first split after its president Tsvangirai opposed some of its senior leaders’ decision to participate in senatorial elections leading to the formation of MDC-T and another MDC now led by Professor Welshman Ncube.
One of the founding members, Mr Job Sikhala, later split from Prof Ncube to form MDC-99.
The MDC-T split again in 2013 after the main opposition party dismally lost the elections, with members blaming Mr Tsvangirai for their loss and calling for a leadership renewal.
The split resulted in formation of the Mr Tendai Biti led People’s Democratic Party while Mr Elton Mangoma formed the Reformed Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ).