MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe has endorsed the Nelson Chamisa led Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) calling on her party supporters to vote for the newly formed party’s candidates in Saturday’s by-elections.
The development signals Khupe’s move to formally join CCC as the new movement has called on all citizens to join forces with them as they seek to unseat Zanu PF in the 2023 general elections.
The veteran politician, clad in a CCC T-shirt with Nelson Chamisa’s face, made the announcement at a press conference in Mzilikazi suburb on Monday.
“I am calling on our members, supporters at large to rally behind President Nelson Chamisa as we prepare for the 2023 elections as this election is going to be defining in every Zimbabwean. In 2023 we must collectively take state power and this can only happen by uniting and setting the pace by voting by thousands for CCC,” she said.
Khupe added that she was launching a door-to-door campaign to drum up support for CCC candidates ahead of the March 26 by-elections.
“I’m also calling on our members and supporters and citizens at large to go to every house, street and village and mobilising citizens to go out and vote in numbers on March 26 for CCC candidates across the country,” Khupe noted.
Responding to questions from CITE on her decision Dr Khupe dismissed gatekeepers who wanted to control opposition politics.
“If people hate you, it means you’ve got something to offer,” Khupe remarked, adding, CCC was a “new movement and the time to hate each other must go because we don’t have that time,” she said.
“The time that we have right now is to come together, converge and take state power. Citizens must come together, let us fight in one corner. Those trying to do gatekeeping, they don’t have any space in this movement where citizens are coming together.”
The MDC-T leader emphasised that pre-occupation and focus right now must be for the opposition to come together as citizens.
“We must take our past, put it behind us and move forward towards the future, the future is a new Zimbabwe where everyone will have a better life,” Khupe said.
Some CCC leaders and supporters have spoken out against Dr Khupe joining their party, claiming she and the leader of other MDC-T faction, Douglas Mwonzora, in collusion with the state, are part of the reason why their former party MDC Alliance collapsed as they recalled a number of their councillors and Members of Parliament across the country.
These recalls are the reason why Zimbabwe is going for by-elections this Saturday.
Dr Khupe is one of the founders of the MDC in 1999 and despite several splits, she stuck with the then leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai, only to break ranks when he deployed two more vice presidents, Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri, citing that constitutional clause was violated by those appointments.
In the 2018 elections, she contested as a presidential candidate and garnered a paltry 45,573 votes.
At the 2020 MDC-T congress (as mandated by a Supreme Court ruling to determine the leadership of the party), Dr Khupe lost to Mwonzora, an event that was marred by irregularities and violence.
In January, this year, Khupe declared a split from the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora arguing that Mwonzora had expelled himself from the party after he declared himself the leader of the MDC Alliance.