Monday, 1 June 2020

WHY I WAS AT TSVANGIRAI'S GRAVE


IN A surprising development at the weekend, the interim leader of the MDC — Thokozani Khupe — paid a visit to the rural home of the main opposition party’s late founding father, Morgan Tsvangirai, as the mindless bloodletting within the party escalates, the Daily News reports.

 The unannounced trip to Humanikwa Village, in Buhera — where Khupe met Tsvangirai’s mother and also visited the former prime minister’s grave — came as her MDC group has been buoyed by a string of court victories over their party foes.

 It also comes as Nelson Chamisa and his allies have appeared to be in significant disarray over the past few months, ever since the Supreme Court ruled the charismatic politician’s hotly-disputed ascendancy to the leadership of the country’s main opposition party — following the death of Tsvangirai in 2018 — to have been illegal and, therefore, null and void.

But it was Khupe and her lieutenants’ Saturday visit to Tsvangirai’s resting place which excited and was weaponised by her MDC rivals — who went on to claim that the trip had been for ritualistic purposes.

 This was after Khupe spoke at the graveside, in the company of Tsvangirai’s mother, which is a common practice in Zimbabwe.

 What may have riled her party opponents is the fact that Khupe was not on good terms with Tsvangirai by the time he passed on — after the much-loved late MDC leader unilaterally elevated Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri to VP level.

 Also noteworthy in this regard is the fact that Khupe and the likes of re-instated party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora were almost burned in a hut during Tsvangirai’s burial by MDC hooligans said to be loyal to Chamisa.

Speaking through her spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni, Khupe told the Daily News yesterday that there was nothing amiss about her decision to appeal to the late Tsvangirai when she visited his grave at the weekend.

“Khupe, like most Africans, believes in the immortality of the soul and accordingly, she saw it fit to update the president (Tsvangirai), in line with her beliefs, on the current status of the struggle — and also appealed for his assistance against the G40 element which is determined to hijack the MDC for their selfish ends,” Phugeni said.

 On his part, Mudzuri said they had gone to Humanikwa to apologise to their late leader’s mother for the abuse she endured at the hands of MDC supporters during her son’s funeral in February 2018.

“We had just gone to see Tsvangirai’s mother given that she was abused when her son died and we never had the opportunity to say sorry. She understood us and responded well.
“Khupe and I had never been to the grave because we were chased away from his funeral. So, it was not really an issue of appealing to the spirit of the dead.

“It is the African way to do … because what happened at the funeral was not good,” Mudzuri told the Daily News.

“We felt we had to say sorry. I had earlier approached Chief Makumbe regarding that. All we wanted was to make peace with the Tsvangirai family. Some of us have been in pain for a long time. So, we wanted to relieve ourselves of the pain by saying sorry,” he added.

This comes as last Friday the High Court dismissed a court application filed by the Chamisa group, seeking an order to stop Khupe’s faction from recalling more party MPs from Parliament.

Recently, the Khupe group successfully recalled Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana), Tabitha Khumalo (MDC proportional representative), Prosper Mutseyami (Dangamvura) and Midlands senator Lillian Timveos from Parliament, as it flexed its muscles and demonstrated that it is fully in charge of the beleaguered party for now.

 It also comes as Khupe and her allies have been involved in a hammer and tongs tussle with Chamisa’s faction ever since Tsvangirai’s death from colon cancer in February 2018.
 The fighting intensified following the Supreme Court’s ruling in March this year, which voided Chamisa’s disputed leadership of the party.

 That ruling upheld last year’s decision by the High Court which had said Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the MDC had violated the main opposition party’s constitution.

 In addition to installing Khupe as interim party president, the court also ordered her to convene an extraordinary MDC congress to elect a new leadership within three months — which key gathering is tentatively set for July 31.

 The court also re-instated Mwonzora and Morgen Komichi to the positions of secretary-general and chairperson respectively.

Last week, former MDC chairperson Lovemore Moyo said pointedly that the current brawling between Chamisa and Khupe had “absolutely nothing to do with serving the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe”.

“The fight between the two formations is purely a power struggle. It’s about fighting for the control of the soul of the MDC and (the late) President Morgan Tsvangirai’s political legacy.
“More importantly, it’s about who is who in the MDC leadership,” the now leader of the United Movement for Devolution (UMD) said.

“Unfortunately, there is no winner in the on-going political fight as the two parties will significantly lose the opposition vote, supporters and credibility.

“Actually, Zanu PF will emerge the biggest winner as it stands from a divided and unco-ordinated opposition come the 2023 general elections.

“Remember, the 2005 MDC split set a wrong precedent that one can disregard the party constitution, regulations and rules and still remain in charge of the party,” Moyo further said.
“In this regard, weak party structures capitulated and supported Tsvangirai in defying the national council decision on the Senate participation.

“However, it must be noted that Tsvangirai went on to build a strong and vibrant MDC that performed exceptionally well in elections,” the soft spoken former Matobo legislator said.
“My advice is very simple. Put the interests of the people of Zimbabwe first. Your personal egos and interests will always be accommodated if you deliver electoral victory in plebiscites.

“What you are doing to yourselves, tearing each other apart, especially on social media, makes Zanu PF smile. Focus on the ball.

“None of the two parties is holding the ball. It’s Zanu PF that is currently holding and playing the ball,” Moyo added. Daily News

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