By Nduduzo Tshuma
MDC-T national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo yesterday quit both his position and the party citing, among other issues, what he called the unconstitutional power grab by leader Mr Nelson Chamisa. Mr Moyo, an ally of one of the party’s vice presidents Dr Thokozani Khupe, also cited violence that is rocking the party, tribalism and sexism as part of his resignation from the party.
Dr Khupe has been involved in a vicious battle over the control of the MDC-T from the days leading to the death of party founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who died in February and after his burial.
Despite Mr Chamisa’s endorsement by the MDC-T national executive as the party’s leader, Dr Khupe has refused to recognise him arguing that she was the rightful heir to the presidency on the basis that she is the only elected official among the late Tsvangirai’s deputies.
Before Mr Tsvangirai’s death, Mr Moyo, Dr Khupe and party national organising secretary Mr Abednigo Bhebhe had fallen out with their then boss over the formation of an alliance of opposition parties to challenge the ruling zanu-pf in this year’s election.
They stopped attending party meetings from August last year after they were assaulted at the party’s Bulawayo provincial alliances by youths reportedly linked to Tsvangirai over their stance against the alliance.
Mr Moyo’s spokesperson, Mr Artwell Sibanda yesterday confirmed the resignation.
“He spoke to Chamisa minutes ago and has sent his resignation letter. His reasons are that the party has deviated from its core values of non sexism and non-violence,” said Mr Sibanda.
“The events that led to violent scenes in Harare, Bulawayo and during the burial of Tsvangirai (where some youths targeted Dr Khupe and others and attempted to burn them inside a hut) were also cited as reasons for his resignation as well as the usurping of power by Chamisa against the provisions of the party’s constitution.”
Meanwhile, the MDC-T national council meets today where it is expected to decisively act on one of the Vice Presidents Dr Thokozani Khupe amid growing calls for her expulsion.
Addressing a rally made up of her allies last Sunday, Dr Khupe said they were breaking away from the main party to join the People’s Rainbow Coalition led by Dr Joice Mujuru with whom they would partner in this year’s national elections.
MDC-T spokesperson Ms Thabitha Khumalo yesterday said the party will discuss recommendations made by organs tasked with solving the impasse and then make a decision that is most likely to affect party national organising secretary Mr Abednigo Bhebhe.
“In accordance with the constitution, the party sent an arbiter to deal with the matter, church leaders were also engaged, while president Chamisa also made efforts to engage Khupe.
“The national council will then hear the outcome of those engagements and recommendations will be tabled before a decision is taken,” she said.
Some party officials, however, said it would take MDC-T leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa’s intervention to save Dr Khupe, whom they said is now “prisoner waiting for the gallows.”
“What Chamisa can do is plead with the national council not to expel Khupe otherwise indications are that a final decision on her expulsion will be arrived at tomorrow (today),” said a party official.
The meeting also comes at a time of reported defections from Dr Khupe’s camp to the Mr Chamisa led MDC-T.
Recently, two of Dr Khupe’s close allies Ms Lwazi Sibanda and Ms Dorothy Bhebhe reportedly attended a meeting of the national women’s organ at the MDC-T Harvest House headquarters sparking speculation that they had switched sides.
Dr Khupe’s woes mounted last week when she was ordered by the courts to vacate the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial offices, which her faction had allegedly barricaded.
“The moment of truth came recently when the national elections directorate called for officials interested in contesting in this year’s elections to submit their names.
“Those who want to contest under MDC-T have to come back to the party that is why some of Khupe’s allies are coming back because there is no way the national council would endorse them while they are pulling away,” said and MDC-T source.