OUSTED former MDC-T national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe (pictured) has remained defiant and refused to recognise the recent appointment of Nelson Chamisa as substantive party leader following the death of founder Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year.
Bhebhe, who was expelled from the party alongside deputy president Thokozani Khupe and spokesperson Obert Gutu, insists he is still part of the MDC-T top leadership, dismissing Chamisa and his team as impostors.
Southern Eye reporter Silas Nkala (SE)yesterday caught up with Bhebhe (AB), where the latter narrates the genesis of their fallout with the Chamisa camp, and their plans to hold an extraordinary congress this month to choose the party’s substantive leadership. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
SE: What do you have to say about your dismissal from the Chamisa-led MDC-T, and what are you doing now?
AB: As far as I am concerned, l’m still the national organiser of MDC-T as elected by congress. In any case there are laid down procedures to expel a member of the national standing committee of the party. None of those processes have taken place as those can only be initiated by the president of the party, which should be the acting president after the passing on of our president, may his soul rest in peace. Currently l’m busy preparing for the upcoming elections.
SE: Khupe, you and Gutu announced that your MDC-T will contest the election with Khupe vying for the presidency, how prepared is your party to contest the election?
AB: MDC-T is a registered political party, which is guided by its constitution. After the passing on of our president the acting president is required by law to implement the party constitution in letter and spirit of which I see nothing wrong with what has happened so far.
Anyone with a different view can refer to the MDC-T constitution which is a public document and is very clear on who does what and when. We are on the ground preparing for the 2018 elections.
SE: There are allegations that your group is tribal-oriented and was paid by Zanu PF to split MDC Alliance votes.
AB: It is only a person with a mental disorder who suggests that I have been bought by Zanu PF.
The people that have been bought by Zanu PF are those that have failed to beat Zanu PF in their rural homes where Zanu PF has dominated since the formation of MDC.
We have always done better in Matabeleland than any other region, and if that is viewed as tribal orientation it would, therefore, make sense to refer to the MDC as a tribal party than making nonsensical allegations.
SE: Chamisa’s MDC-T has announced that you have been fired from the party, have you received the dismissal letters?
AB: There is only one MDC and as far as I am concerned the party does not belong to Chamisa as you are alleging. The one I know is a people’s project that belongs to all members of MDC. I have not received any communication about the dismissal letter.
SE: What is expected to happen at your congress on April 21?
AB: Any extraordinary congress is provided for in the constitution of the party and it is common knowledge that every member of the party should embrace that process, it, therefore, does not arise that there is a group within an organisation where there should be a collective constitutional provision.
SE: Your MDC-T is said to be building structures across all provinces and so far eight have been restructured, are you still the national organiser of the political grouping?
AB: As the national organiser of MDC-T I am not aware of any restructuring exercise excerpt the propaganda I have read on the social media and like I said before, constitutionally there should be no political groupings in the party, because there is only one constitution that guides the party.
SE: The Chamisa-led MDC-T in Bulawayo dismissed 17 provincial executive members aligned to your group, what do you have to say about this?
AB: Like I said before, there is only one MDC which does not belong to any individual and the disciplinary process is clearly spelt out in the constitution of the party and every process thereof will be dealt with constitutionally if there is any.
SE: Your party hasn’t nominated candidates yet, will it be able to meet its target before polls?
AB: The nomination of candidates is not done through the newspapers, hence your suggestion that nothing is being done. We are actually almost through with that process and we will only favour you with the list of the party candidates once the process of selection is complete.
SE: Will the party be able to field candidates across the country?
AB: Like we have always done before, we will field all the candidates for parliamentary, Senate and proportional representation including 1 958 local government candidates.
SN: Some critics are saying your political careers are doomed following the MDC-T split with the view that major support remained in the Chamisa-led MDC-T, your comment on that?
AB: I personally did not join politics to make it my career, but to contribute to the democratisation of the political playing field in Zimbabwe and claims by the so-called critics that I shall be irrelevant are nothing, but statements coming from people that have been Zanunised to believe that politics is part of my livelihood.
I have my career outside politics and I take politics as part of the social network worth contributing to as part of a life process and when time comes, I shall not be forced out, instead I shall voluntarily step down.
SN: What are your parting words to the Chamisa –led MDC-T, your supporters, and the electorate?
AB: My parting words are that let’s all go to our rural areas and campaign for the party because that’s where we have always come short.
I also encourage that all senior leadership in the party should go and contest in rural areas instead of taking advantage of the safe seats in urban constituencies.
We shall never give up because a revolution can never be achieved in one day as much as Rome was not build in a day, Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe have come and gone, next is Zanu PF because Zimbabwe deserves better.
This interview was first published in by News Day