The seven-day ultimatum given to Movement for Democratic Change vice-president Thokozani Khupe to reconcile or quit the party has elapsed posing a headache for new party leader Nelson Chamisa.
Khupe has refused to budge, making people wonder whether Chamisa can afford to fire her when he recently said she was more than a vice-president but was a sister and a friend.
She insists that she does not recognise Chamisa until he is elected by congress because the national council that appointed him has no powers to do so.
After this rebuff, Chamisa tweeted: “VP Khupe is more than a VP; she’s a Cde, a sister and a friend to our MDC-T family. We’ve hoped, fought and cried together in pursuit of freedom.& a better Zimbabwe. What binds us together is far greater than the little that seeks to set us apart.”
Khupe, a former trade unionist, is one of the founding members of the MDC and her expulsion could lead to ethnic divisions that could rip the party apart.
The gender issue, especially following the call by women from all parties to have no less than 50 percent representation in Parliament, could also be played up.
Khupe argues that a new leader must be elected at an extra-ordinary congress and has the backing of democratic forces which insist that the MDC should not behave the same way as the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front whose current leader was railroaded into power by the military.
Suspended former party spokesman Obert Gutu, who is also a lawyer, has not spared the party either.
He recently tweeted: “Cowards invariably resort to violence as their default mode in political contestation. Cowards know that they’re on a self – delusional roller coaster to a humiliating and crushing electoral defeat.
“Anyone who thinks that we are going to back a violent thug and warlord to be President of Zimbabwe is simply dreaming. Zimbabwe deserves better. The people of Zimbabwe deserve better. The people shall decide in 2018.”
Chamisa held a well-attended rally in Chinhoyi last week and is due to hold another in Hwange this weekend.
He told Deutsche Welle that he is going to beat ZANU-PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa because this election is about generational transfer of power.
Some of his twitter followers have, however, warned him not to be delusional describing his as the “twitter president” and Mnangagwa the “state president”.