The youths, led by MDC-T chief security officer Paul Gorekore held a meeting at the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, and refused intervention from police details who flocked to the MDC HQ after initial reports suggested that youths from the MDC Alliance had taken over the building.
Gorekore had been camped at the head office since Sunday, demanding that Chamisa and Khupe hold talks and to fend off ‘infiltration’ from Zanu-PF elements.
“We are not blocking anyone here. We are inviting all our leaders to come and no one will harass anyone. We are trying to unite our leaders to iron out their differences with my 2014 MDC-T structures for youth assembly in Harare and our position is very clear,”Gorekore told the police from inside the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House.
“This was necessitated by our realisation on the need to unite the people in the fight for a better Zimbabwe and defend the civilian space in the face of military-State capture.”
On March 31, the Supreme Court declared that Nelson Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC was illegitimate and placed Khupe in temporary charge. It also ordered the party to hold an extraordinary congress within three months.
Gorekore accused Mwonzora of making ‘illegal decisions’ without consulting party structures, in apparent reference to his recall of more than 21 MDC Alliance MPs and 84 councillors.
Mwonzora has also been accused of working closely with Zanu-PF, police and the military while blocking Khupe allies from entering the party offices.
“We as the youths of the party as per 2014 structures, we have decided to go beyond our differences and unite to resolve the current crisis. We have been concerned by the recent developments where the party has been infiltrated and captured by Zanu-PF elements battling to destroy the people’s movement, thereby aiding the suffering of the masses,” Gorekore said.
“The party has been infiltrated by sellouts with an agenda to derail our freedom. It, therefore, follows that we act to unite our leadership, our support base and Zimbabweans at large and ensure the vision of Dr Morgan Tsvangirai lives on across generations.”
The youths presented their concerns to MDC-T acting national chairperson Morgen Komichi whom they allowed into the building together with MDC Alliance officials; youth leader Obey Sithole and national secretary for rural mobilisation and strategy Happymore Chidziva.
MDC-T national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe later issued a statement endorsing the position taken by youths from both camps.
“We note the position taken by the youth of the MDC in its collective sense. We note their concerns, in particular the possible infiltration of the party with the intention of derailing its objectives,” Bhebhe said.
“In addition, they have expressed concern about the unilateral conduct and decision-making of senior leaders without involving the organs of the party such as the national executive and national council. Such unilateral decisions involve among others the recall of MPs and councillors without the authority of the national council and the purported preparation of the extraordinary congress without involving the national council which is constitutionally mandated to supervise and direct this process.”
The opposition youths are demanding urgent national council and national executive meetings to help interpret the Supreme Court ruling of March 30 and chart the way forward.
Chidziva said he was supportive of the youths’ initiative to reunite the party.
“We must respect the leadership of the party and allow all processes to go ahead. People must have the national council, the national executive and today we are having a dialogue with the leadership because the MDC-T youths agreed to get back to our 2014 structures and stop all this madness and factionalism. That is how our project has been infiltrated. They want to bury the name MDC and we can’t allow that,” he said.
The MDC, he said, needs to “correct past mistakes.”
“All we want is to have leaders finding each other without labelling anyone. It’s all now in the past. The acting president is Madame Khupe and the structures of 2014. We have to meet and iron out our differences.”
Mwonzora, however, accused the exiled former Zanu-PF elements under the moniker G40 of sponsoring the takeover of the party headquarters by Chamisa’s acolytes.
“These are Mr Chamisa’s people, we know them and we know that he organised this. It is a question of time and we will take our property back. These people were organised and funded by G40 to take our building, they have taken it unlawfully and are using violence. We will take back our building,” Mwonzora said.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo commended the stance taken by the youths, accusing Mwonzora and his team of deliberately misinterpreting the Supreme Court ruling to justify their “illegal recall of MPs and councillors” aligned to Chamisa.
“It is not the MDC Alliance programme but it is the youths, as the vanguard of the party’s initiative maybe after realising an agenda that betrays the vision of (the late founding leader) Morgan Tsvangirai,” he said.