Tsvangirai meets Khupe, close ranks and ready to roll

HARARE – MDC-T president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has finally met his deputy Dr Thokozani Khupe to mend relations following months of tension over the formation of the MDC Alliance.

Mr Tsvangirai fell out with his deputy in August after Dr Khupe and her allies expressed opposition to the MDC Alliance saying the party was capable of going it alone in Matabeleland provinces as it was strong enough.

Dr Khupe, national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo and national organising secretary Mr Abednico Bhebhe were subsequently assaulted by sponsored thugs at the party’s provincial offices in Bulawayo after boycotting the MDC Alliance launch in Harare.

However, the opposition leader went ahead and formed the coalition. The move divided the party and created tribal tensions.

Mr Tsvangirai reportedly tried in vain to engage Dr Khupe and her allies over the differences but his efforts were unsuccessful as his deputy wanted them to meet at a neutral venue.

It was reported that Dr Khupe even feared meeting Mr Tsvangirai in Harare over suspicions that people loyal to the opposition leader were going to attack them, but they finally met at the opposition leader’s residence in Highlands suburb, Harare, on Monday.

Dr Khupe’s spokesperson Mr Witness Dube yesterday said visiting the MDC-T president should not be taken as backing down from their stance on the MDC Alliance.

“Deputy president Dr Khupe’s visit and working meeting at president Tsvangirai’s residence yesterday was not and must not be read as a wholesale withdrawal of all the substantive issues that were raised in the much publicised letter that was written to and is filed in the MDC-T president Tsvangirai’s office, save for the condition on the place of the meeting that had been placed,” said Mr Dube.

He said Dr Khupe was accompanied by deputy treasury general Mr Chalton Hwende and Mr Bhebhe whose suspensions were lifted at the meeting.

Mr Dube said the meeting also resolved that party members should put aside differences that caused intra-party fighting.

“It emerged and was agreed that the suspensions had neither been sufficiently constructed nor formally communicated to the affected parties to warrant sustenance.

“In any case, the leadership mutually struck a conciliatory tone of letting bygones be bygones regarding the incident of violence that happened at the Bulawayo Provincial Office,” he said.

Mr Dube said after evaluating the situation, Dr Khupe, Mr Moyo and Mr Bhebhe were now safe to attend the party’s programmes in Harare.

“Added to that, the security situation around the three standing committee members has been closely monitored since the Bulawayo provincial office violence. Currently, nothing suggests that there may be any new incidents of violence that will bring the name of the party into disrepute, which in essence was their primary concern about presenting themselves at MDC-T establishments in Harare,” he said.

Mr Dube said Dr Khupe would remain the party’s acting president as Mr Tsvangirai is still on medical leave.

MDC-T national spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu confirmed the meeting saying the party was moving ahead in preparation for next year’s elections.

“These are internal party programmes. We are just moving ahead preparing for the elections and we have always been one family anyway. Bygones shall be bygones, we are forging ahead as one unit,” said Mr Gutu.

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