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Factionalism Ravages MDC-T As Mwonzora Inches Closer to Recalling 'Iron Lady' MP Khupe Ahead of Elective Ordinary Congress

Thokozani Khupe
Thokozani Khupe

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Douglas Mwonzora is planning to recall Thokozani Khupe and other Members of Parliament amid factionalism in the party ahead of its elective Ordinary Congress expected to be convened early next year.

Khupe claims in a letter written by her attorneys to the MDC-T that Mwonzora is planning to recall her following a meeting last month of the party's National Council.

The letter reads in part, “We have been advised by our client that on the 26th of November 2021, and at Morgan Tsvangirai House, there was a National Council meeting which was held in the capital city. In that meeting, there were certain words that were used by some members that were clearly of tribalistic nature. Further, we have been advised that it is in that meeting where certain recommendations were made to recall, Doctor Khupe and others from Parliament and local authorities. We are advised that your goad office is in possession of such minutes and resolutions.”

In the letter, Khupe’s lawyers, Ncube Attorneys, are demanding minutes and resolutions of the National Council meeting “urgently so that we could be in a position to take full instructions.

“We have it on good authority that the intended recalls were due any time, therefore, we expect to hear from yourselves as a matter of urgency.”

Khupe, who is the Proportional Representation Member of Parliament for Bulawayo Province, was unavailable for comment as she was not responding to calls on her mobile phone.

MDC-T information secretary, Witness Dube, said the party has a right to recall or expel any member if the person is believed to be working with some people or organizations to destabilize it.

Dube said, “All parties in Zimbabwe reserve a right to recall any of their errant public representatives either in parliament or local authorities. This is a constitutional matter … The same applies with us. We can either recall Members of Parliament if they have automatically expell themselves from the party by belonging to another party. It’s there in our constitution and it’s there in the Zimbabwe Constitution Section 129 (k) which prohibits anyone from continuing to represent a party they no longer belong to. But also in our party there are standards for gross violation of our constitution in terms of representing interests that are contrary to those of our party.

“When somebody violates our party constitution to an extent of doing everything and the summary of whatever they do amounts to fighting the party which took them to parliament, the party is left with no choice but to acknowledge that the persons have earned themselves a right to be recalled.”

Dube said he was not addressing the Khupe issue "as if it’s a personal matter because it’s never personal, it's all about standards that each and every one of us have to measure ourselves against, to answer to … It’s all about values we have to answer to all of us in the MDC party as individual members.”

Section 129 (k) of the Zimbabwe constitution stipulates that “the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker or the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the Member has ceased to belong to it.”

The MDC-T has recalled a large number of lawmakers and councilors following a serious fallout with MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa.

One of the aggrieved members of the party, Lungani Ndebele, said they are planning to maintain all structures of the party in Matabeleland in order to support Khupe.

“We have been informed that Mwonzora is planning to expel Khupe and other activists before the Ordinary Congress because he is scared of her. Khupe will remain an MDC-T cadre. We will support her by maintaining all party structures. This is ridiculous. Mwonzora wants to impose himself on the people here. It won’t happen.”