Khupe, Chamisa fight turns bloody
THE suicidal bloodletting consuming the main opposition MDC is now stomping towards its funereal end, with the party’s interim leadership led by Thokozani Khupe now planning to recall about 38 more legislators from Parliament, as well as hundreds of councillors across the country.
MDC national chairperson Morgen Komichi confirmed the mooted bloodbath to the Daily News yesterday, saying the party’s standing committee had resolved on Wednesday to sack all legislators and councillors opposed to Khupe’s leadership.
Among the bigwigs who could be jettisoned as soon as from next week, in this latest party carnage, are MDC Alliance vice president Lynette Karenyi-Kore and the coalition’s firebrand deputy national chairperson Job “Wiwa” Sikhala who have remained loyal to Nelson Chamisa.
This comes as the once formidable party founded by the late and much-loved former trade unionist, Morgan Tsvangirai, is on the brink of total implosion – with various factions of the movement tearing at each other savagely, to the utter glee of the ruling Zanu-PF.
Komichi told the Daily News yesterday that the party’s interim leadership had resolved at its meeting on Wednesday to fire all legislators and hundreds of councillors across the country who are opposed to Khupe’s group.
He said the move was informed by the desire of the interim leadership to “realign the party and focus it on the needs of Zimbabweans”.
“We have reached a point where we are saying we cannot continue with members who have chosen to be stubborn.
“There is no way you can be Zanu-PF and be MDC-T at the same time, and any party that is serious is bound to take action. So, the letters will be written to Parliament soon.
“It would not be strategic to tell the media the exact recall date,” Komichi told the Daily News.
“The affected MPs have chosen not to align with the MDC-T, the major party in the MDC Alliance. They are siding with Chamisa and the national standing committee resolved that we have to take action,” he added.
Khupe’s spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni also told the Daily News yesterday that the MDC’s standing committee had resolved that all elected officials – including legislators and councillors – who had ceased to be members of the party should be recalled forthwith.
“The general position taken by the party is that all those who have since ceased to be our members will be recalled. But this is going to be done on a case by case basis.
“It is all dependent on the individual actions of MPs and councillors,” he said.
Besides Karenyi-Kore and Sikhala, other prominent legislators targeted for the chop include Joana Mamombe (Harare West), Caston Matewu (Marondera Central), Ethrage Kureva (Epworth), Starman Chamisa (Mbare), Costa Machingauta (Budiriro), Erica Murai (Highfield East) and Brian Dube (Gweru Urban).
Party insiders who spoke to the Daily News last night said the recalls were expected to begin as early as this coming Tuesday’s parliamentary session.
This comes as Khupe has so far recalled 21 legislators out of a total of 110 party representatives in both the National Assembly and the Senate – as well as dozens of councillors around the country, as the ructions consuming the main opposition party worsen.
All this also comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in a hammer and tongs tussle for the control of the party, amid repeated warnings by political analysts that the divided opposition will find it exceedingly difficult to compete against Zanu-PF in the fast-approaching 2023 national elections.
The MDC has been ravaged by its futile ructions since Tsvangirai died from colon cancer in February 2018.
The party’s infighting went a notch up after the Supreme Court judgment earlier this year which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court that nullified Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the party.
Only this week, MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti, the founder of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and a number of his colleagues – including newly-elected Harare mayor Jacob Mafume, Bulawayo and Mutare councillors Arnold Dube and Simon Chabuka – were targeted for recalls from their positions by a party faction led by Lucia Matibenga.
The targeted men approached the High Court which on Thursday interdicted Matibenga from jettisoning them from Parliament and local councils.
At the formation of the MDC Alliance, Biti and Matibenga went separate ways, with the tough-talking former Finance minister and others joining the late Tsvangirai in the MDC Alliance.
On her part, Matibenga and her faction joined hands with the then Joice Mujuru-led PRC ahead of the 2018 general elections.
The PDP has several MPs in the MDC Alliance – who include Biti, Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo), Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma) and Kucaca Phulu (Nkulumane), among others.
The other parties that make up the coalition include Welshman Ncube’s MDC, Jacob Ngarivhume’s Transform Zimbabwe, Zanu Ndonga and the Multi-racial Christian Democrats (MCD) led by Mathias Guchutu.
So fierce have the opposition wars become, that analysts now fear for the future of the entire opposition front – with rival groups seemingly working harder to wipe each other out rather than challenge the ruling party.
Professor of World Politics at the London School of Oriental and African Studies Stephen Chan was among the analysts who said this week that the MDC fights were benefiting Zanu-PF immensely.
“The various factions of the MDC are doing the work of Zanu-PF and … the ruling party can barely hide its delight that the once formidable opposition is now splintered into two feuding half-parties, neither of whom would be strong enough to win an election.
“I said some time ago that Chamisa should have been decisive and rebranded and registered that part of the MDC under his control. He wavered and an unedifying dog-fight began.
“Basically the MDC is not only falling apart, it has actually fallen apart. It cannot challenge Zanu-PF in this current factional state.
“Zanu-PF must be delighted that the opposition insists on opposing itself. Chamisa seems to have lost his drive and his strategic energy,” Chan told the Daily News.