The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party leadership has reportedly deployed Dr Thokozani Khupe to campaign for the party in Bubi and Umguza districts in Matabeleland North.
She would be working alongside other CCC teams who have been deployed for the same purpose ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.
Dr Khupe, who led one faction of the MDC-T, recently joined CCC, pushing for a united front in order to defeat Zanu PF in the 2023 national elections.
Throughout the mobile voter registration exercise that ended on April 30, 2022, the former deputy prime minister was seen in various areas, urging people to register to vote and on some occasions, Khupe was joined on the trek by CCC’s interim vice president, Professor Welshman Ncube.
In an interview with CITE, Khupe’s spokesperson, Ntando Ndlovu confirmed that the party leadership in Harare had tasked her to mobilise rural voters in the two districts.
“She’s been deployed to Bubi and Umguza as part of the party’s rural mobilisation strategy. That’s where the focus will be going forward,” he said, noting that she had been on a whirlwind tour of the three Matabeleland provinces urging citizens to register to vote.
“In Bulawayo, she teamed up with other senior opposition leaders and they toured several western suburbs urging Bulawayo residents to register to vote. She has also teamed up with other leaders in Bubi and Umguza in Matabeleland North and Plumtree in Matabeleland South where they were doing a similar exercise.”
Ndlovu further claimed that Dr Khupe was working well with ‘almost’ all senior leaders of CCC, despite sentiments from some members who opposed her entry into the party.
“The sentiments that you are referring to are coming from staff riders and gatekeepers who are incapable of mobilizing citizens and the electorate. They then, therefore, resort to issuing reckless and senseless statements in the media to get attention, for which they have an insatiable appetite. Dr Khupe remains unshaken and clear about the task at hand,” said the spokesperson.
He highlighted that Bulawayo and the two rural Matabeleland provinces have the lowest number of registered voters and therefore if nothing was done to register more voters, they risked losing some constituencies.
“Therefore, Dr Khupe has used the door-to-door campaigns to urge the citizenry to vote for CCC and Advocate Nelson Chamisa ahead of next year’s elections. The citizens have generally welcomed the message that Dr Khupe has carried to them and they have applauded her decision to throw her weight behind Adv Chamisa,” Ndlovu said.
“As a former trade unionist, Dr Khupe is really humbled by the amount of positive feedback she’s receiving from the ground.”
While addressing the media in Bulawayo in March, Dr Khupe said the 2018 harmonised election results were evidence that opposition politics in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South were fragmented.
She said for instance in Bulawayo, for the first time since 2000, the mainstream MDC vote was below 50 percent whereas a combined MDC vote would have polled 58.1 percent.
In Matabeleland North, the then MDC Alliance polled 37.8 percent of the vote while Dr Khupe’s MDC-T managed 9.5 percent of the votes.
She argued that the combined MDC vote could have been 47. 3 percent, 7. 8 percent more than the Zanu PF vote.
“A united opposition would have won control of this Matabeleland North with eight out of 13 constituencies. In Matabeleland South, the MDC-Alliance won 30.3 percent and MDC-T won 5.2 percent. The combined MDCs would have polled 35.5 percent of the votes,” Dr Khupe said then.
Dr Khupe also stated that a combined opposition would have four out of 13 constituencies in Matabeleland South or one third, which would have been a better representation of the citizenry.