HARARE – Expelling MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe could be disastrous for the opposition party ahead of the 2018 elections, analysts have warned.
This comes as the opposition party’s president, Nelson Chamisa, says Khupe has been given an extra three days — after defying a seven-day ultimatum — to repent or face automatic expulsion.
There has been embarrassing and humiliating squabbling before and after the death of Tsvangirai — a long-time and fierce former president Robert Mugabe’s rival — who succumbed to colon cancer.
Analysts canvassed by the Daily News believe that the two leaders — Khupe and Chamisa — “need each other” ahead of the elections and the late Tsvangirai’s succession was badly managed.
“I think the matter was poorly handled. Firstly, the whole issue was messed up by Tsvangirai who appointed two other deputies when Khupe was there. Secondly, Chamisa did not do well by avoiding an opportunity for stockholders of the party to vote for their leader at an extraordinary congress, instead he opted for appointment by an exclusive club of praise singers in the national council,” political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said.
“But I expected MDC elders to mediate a dialogue between the leaders and come up with a win-win solution. But they opted not to do their duty and left a conflict resolution strategy that left a winner and a loser. And this is not sustainable,” he said.
“They can expel her (Khupe), but she will go with those that believe in her. MDC will also win or lose national elections as an intolerant party that does not know how to deal with dissenting voices and still remain as one party. The party needs to have everyone and also attract more supporters. Expelling Khupe will leave an intolerant and less cohesive party,” he added.
Eldred Masunungure, also a political analyst, said it would be unfair for MDC to expel Khupe.
“What is happening in the MDC is embarrassing and disappointing. The president is acting in a manner which shows that he wants to consolidate power … through eliminating enemies so firing Khupe will be another sign that the MDC leadership needs to consolidate power,” he said.
“Khupe is an elected deputy president and I think it’s unfair. Instead of expelling each other, the party must unite ahead of elections. They need to engage elders within the party and settle their differences,” Masunungure said.
United Kingdom-based political analyst Alex Magaisa said the ambiguous MDC constitution caused the serious fights.
“What is happening within the MDC is a reflection of the pains of transition. It was never going to be easy to transit from the reign of its founding leader Tsvangirai to a new era under his successor.
“The pain of transition is characterised by both law and politics, with a collision between principle and expediency and between popular will and legality. The party was reckless, however, not to attend to its constitution, which is farcical,” he wrote on his blog — Big Saturday Read.
“The current situation would have been an easier affair if the party had a clear constitution. However, the current constitution is incomplete, vague and elusive.
However, another political analyst, Shakespear Hamauswa, said Chamisa must expel Khupe before it is too late.
“It is very fair and in fact too late. Khupe has shown beyond any reasonable doubt that her mission was to destroy Tsvangirai and she is simply looking for a strategic exit from MDC. That is one that will give blame to Chamisa on one hand and on the other hand that which will leave a web of network for future assignments to work against the party,” he said.
“She is simply building sympathisers who will remain in the party but her actions have shown that she accomplished her mission.
“If she was serious about mending relations, she could have shown willingness to negotiate with the other team,” added Hamauswa.