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MDC-T Fires Thokozani Khupe and Obert Gutu

The MDC-T national council yesterday expelled co-vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe, party spokesman Mr Obert Gutu and organising secretary ...

The MDC-T national council yesterday expelled co-vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe, party spokesman Mr Obert Gutu and organising secretary Mr Abednigo Bhebhe, while also accepting the resignation of national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo.

The national council, which is the opposition party’s supreme decision-making body in-between congresses, also decided to recall two of the affected legislators — Dr Khupe (Makokoba) and Mr Bhebhe (Nkayi South) — from Parliament.

It is believed more than two-thirds of the national council voted in favour of the resolutions.

In a statement released yesterday after a seven-hour meeting at the party’s headquarters in Harare, MDC-T deputy national chairman Mr Morgen Komichi said Dr Khupe was “removed from the party” for refusing to cooperate despite efforts by the party president, Mr Nelson Chamisa, to reconcile with her.
Thokozani Khupe
“On VP Khupe, the national council noted the efforts for engagement made by the party President and the fact that VP Khupe remained stubborn, obdurate, intransigent and spurned all party efforts to address her grievances as she continued to hold illegal meetings and partake in unconstitutional activities, putting the party into disrepute and undermining the constitutional organs of the party,” said Mr Komichi.

“The national council, therefore, resolved, by more than the mandatory two-thirds of the vote, that VP Khupe be removed from the party in terms of the party constitution.”

Similarly, Mr Bhebhe was expelled on allegations of “unconstitutional behaviour” and “putting the party into disrepute”.

Mr Gutu, who has been on suspension, met the same fate, while Mr Lovemore Moyo had pre-emptively resigned on Thursday citing irreconcilable differences with the Chamisa-led leadership, which he blamed for illegally and violently grabbing power.

Mr Komichi said the latest developments would be officially communicated to other stakeholders.

“The party further resolved to communicate these latest developments in the party to all stakeholders including, but not limited to, the Government of Zimbabwe, the parliament of Zimbabwe, civic society, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the diplomatic community and all party organs and structures,” he said.

The expulsion of the four senior officials from the opposition party is a culmination of heightened succession fights among the former co-vice presidents – Dr Khupe, Mr Chamisa and, at one point Engineer Elias Mudzuri – which began before the death of founding leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai last month.

However, Eng Mudzuri has seemingly opted out of the race, leaving his fellow peers to fight it out for the leadership of the country’s biggest opposition party.

But Chamisa managed to upstage his rival, Dr Khupe, through circumstances that are still being disputed by some members of the party.

He has since been endorsed as the Presidential candidate by the MDC-T national council and leaders of political parties that constitute the MDC Alliance, a coalition that is fighting to take on the ruling Zanu-PF in the forthcoming polls.

The contestation for leadership of the MDC-T has been punctuated by incidents of violence, which have threatened to tear the party apart.

At a weekend rally in Bulawayo, Dr Khupe, who vowed to retain the MDC-T name for her faction, said she would contest for President in this year’s harmonised elections.

The Chamisa-led MDC-T faction yesterday said it would select all its candidates for harmonised polls by the end of April.

“On the issue of candidate selection for the watershed 2018 election, the national council has received all applications and CVs (curriculum vitas) from the provinces and districts. The process of candidate selection has kicked off in earnest and all candidates will be in place by end of April,” said Mr Komichi.

The candidate selection process has not been without its own challenges, with prospective participants fearing this could be a ruse for the leadership to impose their favoured candidates.
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