REINSTATED MDC organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe, pictured, has called on rival claimants to the opposition party’s presidency, Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe, to find each other and strive to come up with a stronger outfit.
The Supreme Court recently ordered the party to revert to its February 2014 structures and that Khupe convenes an extraordinary congress within three months to elect a new leader.
However, while Chamisa’s allies – including his party’s vice presidents Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube – have argued that the ruling does not affect the MDC Alliance, which held its congress last year, the 42-year-old leader has refused to comment on the matter.
But in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Bhebhe – who left the main MDC along with Khupe to form their own outfit when Chamisa took over leadership after the death of party founding president Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018 – told the Daily News that it was in the best interests of the opposition to seek a neutral arbiter to bring the two leaders together.
“I would not be comfortable to be an organising secretary of a divided MDC so if they don’t find each other I am not going to be at that congress because we will be playing into the hands of Zanu-PF.
“I would want a situation where both leaders come together so that we come out of this stronger, not a situation where we will continue to have one opposition grouping being bigger than the other. I say so because that will be the outcome.
“Things will remain as they are in opposition politics. Leaders should put their egos aside and find a peacemaker – someone who is neutral for the good of the people,” Bhebhe said.
Chamisa’s allies argue that the MDC Alliance is a political entity separate from the MDC-T, hence cannot be bound by the Supreme Court ruling.
They point to the fact that Chamisa’s rise to MDC Alliance leader was procedurally done by the national council, the highest decision-making body outside congress.
Khupe and Chamisa held separate congresses last year. They also separately contested the 2018 presidential election in which Khupe performed dismally.
Biti, in particular, claims that the ruling was made in terms of the MDC-T, which Khupe led, and not Chamisa’s MDC Alliance.
“The congress of May 2019 stands and cannot be affected by any ruling and determination on a judgment affecting the MDC-T. We are MDC Alliance. The next congress of the MDC Alliance is in May 2023, not any time before,” he told journalists after the ruling was made.