Thokozani Khupe has been elected leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) formation once led by the late Morgan Tsangirai, who succumbed to cancer of the colon early this year.
Khupe will be deputized by former party spokesman Obert Gutu while Nkayi lawmaker Abednico Bhebhe landed the position of secretary general of the party, which has been bedeviled by factionalism following Tsvangirai’s death.
Nelson Chamisa leads another formation of the MDC-T after he was endorsed by the National Council, the highest decision-making body outside Congress, to take over Tsvangirai.
Khupe told delegates that they want to protect the party’s constitution which has become the center of conflict between her and Chamisa. She claims that Chamisa seized power violently while she has been pursuing democratic processes of choosing new leadership of the party.
“Our clarion call to us is to entrench constitutionalism and democratic principles. As the Congress theme highlights we must be return to our founding principles and values of peace, love, tolerance and solidarity. These values are sacred and in themselves denounce the use of violence on any person for political gain.
“I implore you as members of the party to demand these values from Zanu PF and from those among us in the party and in the opposition camp so that they respect constitutions and they adhere to the values and principles of those political parties.”
Khupe has accused Chamisa’s supporters of threatening her at Tsvangirai’s burial in Buhera in February.
But the MDC-T led by Chamisa has dismissed these allegations as untrue and designed to benefit Khupe, who they claim abandoned Tsvangirai when he mooted the idea of the MDC Alliance, comprising several opposition parties.
The formation’s acting spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo said the election of Khupe is a non-event.