The Movement for Democratic Change has suspended party spokesperson Obert Gutu and given some top officials, including deputy president Thokozani Khupe, seven days to engage the party or face stern disciplinary measures.
In a statement after a crucial joint National Executive and National Council meeting in Harare, the party claimed that Gutu, who wants to contest the forthcoming general elections in Harare East contrary to the MDC Alliance resolutions, is promoting factionalism in the MDC-T.
” … Party spokesperson Obert Gutu is suspended pending internal disciplinary processes and in the meantime deputy spokesperson Hon. Thabitha Khumalo becomes the acting party spokesperson.”
In the statement signed by MDC-T communications director, Luke Tamborinyoka, the party further warned that it will take drastic measures against Khupe and others opposed to Nelson Chamisa’s rise to the MDC-T presidency following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai.
“… The party has given 7 days for engagement processes to take place with senior leaders VP Khupe, national chairperson Lovemore Moyo and organizing secretary Hon. Abednigo Bhebhe after which the party has mandated the leadership to take the necessary action by operation of law.”
It said all leaders should stop communicating party positions “without permission and as per the Constitution for purposes of message discipline and consistency.”
The two organs of the party further endorsed Chamisa as the legitimate MDC-T leader.
It said, “In line with Article 18 as read together with Article 9.21.1 of the party Constitution, the party through the National Council, has resolved that Hon. Advocate Nelson Chamisa is confirmed as the party’s substantive leader and the party’s presidential candidate for 2018.”
The party fully endorsed the MDC Alliance, “taking cognizance of the input from the party’s provincial leaderships. In the same vein, council resolved that all party candidates in the 2018 election will participate under the MDC Alliance banner and that the party shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the name MDC-T is not abused.”
The National Executive and National Council, which is the top decision-making organ outside Congress, also urged followers to fully prepare for the 2018 general elections.
“In that regard, the party has mandated all structures to complete a popularity and merit based internal candidate selection process by 15 April 2018.”
In honor of the late party leader, who died of cancer of the colon, it was resolved that the MDC-T headquarters be re-named Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House.
Tsvangirai was laid to rest at Hamanikwi Village in Buhera, Manicaland province, a week ago.
Some party youth allegedly attacked Khupe, Bhebhe and other officials during the burial of the late MDC-T leader.
“The National Council notes with serious concern the violence that took place against senior officials in Buhera and applauded the immediate action taken by president Adv. Hon. Nelson Chamisa to order an investigation into what happened with the aim of ensuring that stern action is taken against the culprits.
“The party has emphasized its zero tolerance for violence and appreciated the swift action by the President to deal with the Buhera incident and ensure that no stone is left unturned in the investigation of what exactly happened.”
Khupe and other senior MDC-T officials claim that they were nearly killed when they attended Tsvangirai’s funeral, who accused them of causing divisions in the party.