BULAWAYO – The breakaway MDC faction led by Thokozani Khupe (pictured) is struggling to shake off the now widespread tag that the opposition party is doing the bidding for Zanu PF.
Khupe was one of the few opposition leaders who congratulated President Emmerson Mnangagwa after he was controversially elected to the presidency last year.
Along with her entourage, Khupe attended Mnangagwa’s inauguration at the National Sport Stadium at a time the main opposition MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa snubbed the inauguration, accusing the Zanu PF leader of rigging the election.
While some say these incidents were testimony that the MDC-T has matured politically, it is generally claimed in the court of public opinion that Khupe’s party has struck an unholy alliance with Zanu PF.
Exiled former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo is one of those who accused Khupe of being used by Zanu PF.
While Khupe has since her ascendancy to the MDC-T presidency tried on numerous occasions to shake off the Zanu PF links, it has somehow proved futile as her opponents have used that against her.
Yesterday, MDC-T national chairperson Abednico Bhebhe was at pains to explain what he called a wrong narrative against his party as there was no way they could support Zanu PF.
“There is a narrative that has been deliberately created to undermine one political party, so that one political party can undermine mileage,” Bhebhe told the Daily News.
“In politics it is sort of deliberate that you soil another political party to get mileage. For you to get perceived support from the other political party make sure that you paint that other party as dirty as possible so that you get that support, so in this case it is just a narrative that is not there, there is no way that we can support Zanu PF,” Bhebhe said.
“For example, firstly there was a narrative that Khupe has been appointed an ambassador but then it proved to be false. People are no longer looking back to say this once played on, secondly if MDC-T was supported by Zanu PF, there was $1,8 million that was disbursed by Zanu PF, so surely if they supported us, that money could have come to MDC-T. So it means there are no links between us and Zanu PF.
“Thirdly, you know there was a fierce fight soon after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai — that fight has created those narratives and it’s pushing those narratives so that they gain traction on the ground,” he explained.
Bhebhe defended Khupe’s attendance of Mnangagwa’s inauguration last year.
“The other issue is of political parties being invited for Mnangagwa’s inauguration, but all parties were invited, some decided not to go for reasons best known to them and some decided to go. Remember when Mnangagwa staged a coup and was declared President of Zimbabwe, all parties went to the National Sports Stadium to congratulate Mnangagwa including Chamisa who was then MDC vice president,” he said.
Bhebhe accused Chamisa of being worse than Khupe after he attended Mnangagwa’s ceremony in 2017 soon after dethroning former president Robert Mugabe in a soft coup.
“So, now you can’t turn around and want to use that one as a scapegoat and say Khupe now support Mnangagwa. After all if we were to be genuine and honest in a legal framework, the one who congratulated a coup plotter and the one who congratulated one who went through an election, who is better between the two,” he said.
Ever since the demise of Tsvangirai, the relationship between Khupe and Chamisa has never been healthy as the two fought for the control of the party.