New MDC-T split feared after violence

August 8, 2017
| Report Focus News

THE alleged assault on MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe is a symptom of deep problems within the party which could possibly lead to another split, political commentators have said.

Khupe, who did not attend the coalition signing event held in Harare on Saturday, was reportedly beaten up by MDC-T party supporters for calling a meeting to discuss the deal. Her move was viewed as insubordination by fellow party members who sought to disrupt the meeting.

Welshman Ncube’s MDC, People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti, Transform Zimbabwe led by Jacob Ngarivhume, Denford Musiyarira of Zanu Ndonga, Zimbabwe People First and Gerald Mubaiwa’s Zimbabwe Opposition Political Parties are parties to the pact.

Political commentator Maxwell Saungweme said the violence points to an emerging fissure likely to result in another split.

“It’s clear they are divided. They may implode. It may be a question of gaining some through old MDC members joining the coalition and losing some and disgruntled and violated MDC members leaving. It will be bhurugwa raTaruza rinoti uku rirkuurukwa uku ririkuruduruka”

Saungweme said fear of some MDC-T leaders and followers is justified as some parties to the coalition agreement do not have political clout significant enough to improve his fortune to land a victory in 2018.

“So this causes division as some people will feel their power will be diluted. Some of the issues are real. Some parties in the coalition are so small such as (Jacob) Ngarivhume’s.

“So people like Ngarivhume will be senior in the coalition, more senior that Khupe for example, yet he runs a small party with very few followers. The party will not remain the same,” he said.

Alex Magaisa, formerly Tsvangirai’s advisor, while recognizing the need for a thorough investigation, said the MDC-T must also consider the violence as an opportunity to deal with the problems instead of “blame shifting”.

“There is nobility in taking responsibility as opposed to blame-shifting. The presser is important to demonstrate the party is taking the issue seriously,” Magaisa said on Twitter, further describing the party’s insinuation that state agents were behind it as “too cheap and tacky attracting more ridicule.”

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza described the incident as horrible but declined to shed light on its implications on Tsvangirai’s party ahead of next year’s election until the matter is concluded.

“We have to find out what’s behind the violence first,” he said.

The grand coalition has been touted by some Zimbabweans as the only way to unseat President Robert Mugabe and his party from power after Tsvangirai has suffered defeats, some close, since the launch of his party in 1999.

However power sharing has been a thorny issue stalling the pact for long as parties failed to agree on who to lead the coalition and how power would be shared.
Meanwhile, Khupe and colleagues were on Monday reportedly on the verge of forming a splinter party.

According to the resolution gleaned by this reporter, the three senior leaders took turns to criticise the Saturday alliance document during their meeting.

“The alliance is meant to disadvantage and politically condemn the region and its leaders by replacing them with Welshman (Ncube). The region must not recognize this agreement,” reads part of the resolution.

The meeting also mandated the three senior leaders to urgently engage the party’s grassroots about the idea of forming a new political outfit.

Under resolution number seven, the meeting which was attended by about 30 participants drawn from the three provinces of Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South also resolved that all national council members from Matabeleland should boycott the party’s national council meetings with immediate effect.

While Khupe’s mobile phone was not reachable, Moyo denied that the three leaders weree planning to form a party but admitted that the issue of coalition has divided the party.

He said the agenda of Sunday’ s meeting was to discuss the issue of the coalition as well as deliberate on the 13 parliamentary seats which have reportedly been allocated to Ncube’s party under the coalition arrangement.

Moyo added he was confident that an amicable solution would be reached regarding the issue.