MDC-T deputy president Dr Thokozani Khupe has said she has not recovered from the attempt on her life that occurred at the burial of the late party’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Buhera two weeks ago to the extent that she cannot speak up in public.
Appearing in public for the first time after the alleged arson attack on her among other senior party officials, at a public lecture organised by a civil society organisation in Bulawayo on Friday, Dr Khupe said her larynx was damaged when the party’s youths attempted to kill her during Tsvangirai’s burial at Humanikwa Village in Buhera.
Tsvangirai’s death has plunged the MDC-T into leadership crisis with party organs declaring Advocate Nelson Chamisa as the party’s substantive president while Dr Khupe insists to be MDC-T’s acting president. Dr Khupe was supposed to make a public presentation on “Ethnic factor in Zimbabwe politics, progress or relationship”. She had to ask the party’s organising secretary, Mr Abednego Bhebhe, to present on her behalf.
“Unfortunately, I lost my voice as you know I stayed in that hut which was filled with smoke for three hours, and my voice box was affected. I cannot speak so I will ask Bhebhe to speak on my behalf,” she said.
Mr Bhebhe said what happened at the burial of their leader was taboo and they will not comment about it in public.
“The second thing is that something happened in Buhera (and) it was bad, a lot of people want us to speak out and tell them what happened.
UMaKhupe, Lovemore Moyo (national chairman) and Bhebhe will not tell you anything because what happened in reference to the region is not about them, it was never about them, it’s about all of you citizens,” said Mr Bhebhe.
The three have been given a seven-day ultimatum to resume MDC-T duties or risk disciplinary actions. He said Dr Khupe will not throw away the towel in the MDC-T likening her to a first wife in a polygamous marriage who stays put even after the husband has remarried. He was making reference to the late Tsvangirai’s appointment of deputies Adv Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri in 2016.
“The first wife, even after her husband has married two other women, because of people around her, children and neighbours stays put. She would have long back rejected her husband but she still stays put so that when she decides to leave, children, neighbours and relatives know that she was a woman of integrity,” he said.
“Because if you just walk away without explaining yourself to those around you, they will badmouth you, they will say you were sent away because of prostitution yet you won’t be a prostitute. They will say you were chased away because of witchcraft yet you were not a witch. But before you leave you should stand your ground.”
Mr Bhebhe said Dr Khupe will stand on principle and will not bow to pressure. He said populism has been used to elevate Adv Chamisa as the party’s leader at the expense of Dr Khupe.
“A minority can respect the constitution better than the majority. The majority don’t respect the constitution because they don’t use the constitution but populism. Which is what we are seeing happening here. The majority would not want to follow what the constitution says but because they want to use the numerical advantage, they will say let’s make noise in our numbers that becomes law. When somebody from the minority speaks constitutionalism, she or he is questioned for raising their voice.”