Thokozani Khupe, who declared herself the new leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) on Friday, says the party will not field council and parliamentary candidates in the forthcoming by elections.
In an exclusive interview, Khupe said they are currently pre-occupied with revamping party structures which were allegedly dismantled by Douglas Mwonzora.
She said, “We are not going to contest these elections since we declared the split today (Friday) and the Nomination Court is on Wednesday. So, we are not going to be participating in these by-elections."
Several council and parliamentary seats fell vacant when Mwonzora’s party recalled people who aligned themselves with Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance.
Khupe dismissed suggestions that she will work with the Chamisa formation ahead of the by-elections and in the runup to the 2023 harmonized elections.
“At the moment our major focus as MDC-T is preparing for our congress. So, we are going to be busy doing our branches, districts and provinces. Our focus is to make sure that we have a free, fair and credible congress.”
Khupe further noted that she will remain in parliament and can’t be expelled from the party by the Mwonzora.
“Mwonzora cannot expel me. I will remain in parliament as leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. This is the reason why I pleaded with other political parties … I also pleaded with parliament, Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Local Government to desist from taking sides. This party has split into two groups and therefore they must allow the two parties to co-exist. This is the reason why I cannot be recalled by anyone and I don’t see the reason why we should be recalling each other. We must co-exist because our focus right now is to make sure that every Zimbabwean has a better life. As a party we want to make sure that every Zimbabwean has a better life.”
But Mwonzora’s MDC formation said Khupe remains suspended for violating some provisions of the party’s constitution.