This comes as Khupe and Nelson Chamisa’s MDC factions are set for another titanic battle over the use of the name MDC Alliance in December local authority and National Assembly by-elections that arose after several MPs and councillors were recalled by the party.
The wave of recalls came after the Supreme Court annulled Chamisa’s MDC presidency after ruling that Khupe should be the party’s interim leader – with the mandate to organise an extraordinary congress to elect a new party president using its 2014 structures. Khupe recently recalled Harare mayor Herbert Gomba and five other councillors.
In a letter dated September 12 to the Harare City Council, Local Government minister July Moyo said the MDC had recalled councillors and directed the local authority to immediately inform the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of the vacancies.
Moyo said he had been informed by the MDC that the councillors had been expelled from the party.
“In terms of section 278(1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe, as read with Section 129(i)(k), wards 24, 39, 19, 34, 30, 8, 40, 21, 29, 6, and 35 are now vacant,” Moyo wrote.
The recalled councillors are Lovemore Makuwerere (Ward 24), Gilbert Hadebe (Ward 39), Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi (Ward 19), Simon Mapanzure (Ward 34), Charles Chidhagu (Ward 3o), Keith Charumbira (Ward 8), Stephen Dhliwayo (Ward 40), Barnabas Ndira (Ward 21) Chihoma Runyowa (Ward 29) and Charles Nyatsuro (Ward 6).
Zec has since set December 5 for by-elections to fill council and parliament vacancies – a development that has opened another battlefront for Khupe and Chamisa.
The Khupe-led camp national chairperson Morgen Komichi told the Daily News yesterday that the MDC-T would soon meet to discuss the issue around the party’s name, hinting they intended to use the name MDC Alliance on the ballot paper.
“That is a very critical question. We are going to discuss it on Wednesday (tomorrow) as a party but my opinion is that we can’t change the name because it will give us problems in Parliament, maybe others have different opinions,” Komichi said.
The Khupe faction is facing a dilemma as they cannot change the name because they have some legislators in Parliament who are serving under MDC Alliance.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo on the other hand savaged the Khupe camp, saying they were being used to destroy the opposition party.
“This is madness and manifestation of confusion. They are illegally recalling MDC-A councillors and MPs claiming that they are no longer members of their party, MDC-T, and now they want to claim that they are MDC Alliance.
“These people are a Zanu-PF extension meant to destabilise the change train. Let me assure Zimbabweans that their struggle shall not be tampered with.
“We shall defend it to the end, to the last drop of our sweat and blood. The movement is solid and we are seized with all those technical issues and we are aware of the Zanu-PF plans with the rebels. They will fail in the game as usual,” Hlatshwayo said.
All hell broke loose in the MDC following the death of the party’s president, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February 2018, leading to dogfights within the party.
The battles took a decisive turn after the Supreme Court upheld a High Court ruling in March, which had nullified Chamisa’s hotly-disputed ascendancy to the helm of the party following Tsvangirai’s death.
The MDC-T has since expelled Chamisa from the party.
Chamisa and his lieutenants have appeared to be in disarray ever since the Supreme Court delivered its ruling on the party’s leadership ructions.
On its part, the Khupe group has successfully recalled 21 legislators who have so far approached the courts arguing that their expulsions were illegally.
All this comes amid reports of disagreements between Khupe and other leaders who are eyeing the MDC-T presidency, including Elias Mudzuri, Douglas Mwonzora and Komichi on who must be recalled.
Recently, Khupe’s spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni and Mwonzora clashed in a national standing committee meeting over Gomba’s recall. Matters came to a head when Phugeni confronted Mwonzora, accusing him of not consulting other national standing committee members before writing letters to recall Gomba and five other councillors.