MDC-T splits: Khupe leads new splinter group

The MDC-T party has once again split following a dramatic turn of events, where party Vice President Dr Thokozani Khupe, who was suspended Thursday, moved to expel party leader Douglas Mwonzora before announcing the formation of a new splinter group.

The split was not a surprise to party insiders who claimed there was deep division between Dr Khupe and Mwonzora.

MDC-T has since its formation in 1999, split at least five times.

The first was in 2005 between the founding party president Dr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Welshman Ncube, the second was in 2014 when Tendai Biti formed MDC Renewal (PDP), soon after that Job Sikhala created MDC 99 and in 2018 between Nelson Chamisa and Dr Khupe.

Addressing a press conference at McDonald Hall in Mzilikazi Friday in Bulawayo, Dr Khupe, said MDC-T was founded on values of constitutionalism but their constitution had been mutilated and shredded into pieces by Mwonzora.

“Article 9.1.2(a) enjoins the President to uphold and defend the party constitution. It, therefore, follows the president cannot be at the centre of constitutional transgressions. Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora has several times violated the constitution of the party during his term as president,” she said.

Dr  Khupe said Mwonzora had fired himself as he had formed a new alliance which was a completely new and different pact.

“Mwonzora has formed a new alliance with the likes of Lucia Matibenga of PDP, which was part of former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s led Peoples Rainbow Coalition and Shupikai Mandazi of MDC N,” she said.  

The MDC Alliance was an agreement between Dr Tsvangirai, Prof Ncube (MDC), Biti (PDP), Jacob Ngarivhume (Transform Zimbabwe), Agrippa Mutambara (ZimPF), Mathias Guchutu (MCD) and Denford Musiyarira (Zanu Ndonga).

In addition, Dr Khupe noted Mwonzora had notified the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that he would contest the upcoming by-elections under the MDC Alliance party.

“In so doing Mwonzora has fired himself because of the MDC-T constitution,” she said.

Article 5.10(a) of MDC-T reads membership shall be terminated if a member joins or supports a political party other than the MDC-T ( termination of membership in these circumstances is automatic.)

“I would like to substantiate this by alluding to the fact that Mwonzora recalled several MPs and councillors because they were members of the Alliance and recently he recalled (former Gweru Mayor) Josiah Makombe because he was said to be a member of the alliance and therefore he seized to be an MDC-T member. This is a clear indication that Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora is no longer a member of the MDC-T,” Dr Khupe said.

She declared: “It is in this vein that today 21 January 2022, we who are gathered here and many others scattered around this country, who could not make it to this very important event, declare an official split of our beloved party the Movement for Democratic Change -Tsvangirai MDC-T.”

Dr Khupe, also the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, indicated there will now be two formations, one led by her and the other formation led by whoever will be chosen at the other party’s congress set for March 5, 2022.

She pleaded with other political parties not to interfere with their internal politics, called on Parliament to desist from taking sides, as well as Local Government including the judiciary to be fair in dealing with their matter.

Dr Khupe brazenly said Mwonzora was an illegitimate president who rigged their Extra-Ordinary Congress (EOC) held in 2020, as it did not form a quorum.

“Mwonzora’s cabal has gone on to disband legitimate party structures, a case in point being the Bulawayo Provincial Executive and replaced it with a bogus structure. This reckless behaviour calls into question the composition of the National Council because legitimate and correct 2014 national council members have been replaced by fake council members,” she said noting this scenario applies in all provinces.

She claimed Mwonzora had also benefited from a “violent EOC which was rigged,” whose perpetrators had not yet been dealt with as they were protected by him.

“13 months since the EOC and not a single structure was dissolved from branch level to provincial level to allow for the ordinary congress to be held on March 5, 2022. You then ask yourself whether this is a congress or something of a few individuals who are supposed to unconstitutionally elevate the MDCT leadership,” she said.

Dr Khupe accused Mwonzora of lying before the court, as in his sworn affidavit filed at the Bulawayo High Court claimed no one was recalled or expelled at all yet he moved to recall the former Gweru mayor whose seat was even gazetted by ZEC as vacant.

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