THE MDC-T faction led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa has allegedly approached suspended party organising secretary Mr Abednigo Bhebhe and legislator Ms Nomvula Mguni to ditch former party deputy president Dr Thokozani Khupe and in return the duo would not be recalled from Parliament, Sunday News has learnt.
Mr Bhebhe, Ms Mguni and former party spokesman Mr Obert Gutu were together with Dr Khupe suspended from the party after they refused to recognise Adv Chamisa as the leader of the party. Last week the MDC-T only recommended for the expulsion from Parliament of Dr Khupe leaving Mr Bhebhe and Ms Mguni as legislators representing the party.
Dr Khupe was MDC-T Bulawayo proportional representation legislator and leader of the opposition in the House, a post which carried a number of privileges. Mr Bhebhe is Nkayi South representative in the National Assembly under MDC-T while Ms Mguni is the MDC-T Bulawayo Proportional Representation legislator.
Sources in the party told Sunday News that by expelling Dr Khupe from Parliament and leaving her suspended allies, Adv Chamisa was trying to isolate Dr Khupe.
“Chamisa is now telling Bhebhe and others that either you repent or face the same fate as Khupe. However, it seems there are no inroads being made as Bhebhe is actually at the forefront of organising a congress which is supposed to endorse Khupe as the president next Saturday. Chamisa’s aim is to completely isolate Khupe and drown her for good but it seems the plan is not going according to plan,” said a source.
The source said Adv Chamisa has even offered Mr Bhebhe assurance that he will also retain his position as the party’s candidate in Nkayi South in the harmonised elections set for July and also regain his position as organising secretary.
Contacted for comment, MDC-T acting chairperson Mr Morgen Komichi acknowledged that Mr Bhebhe and Ms Mguni could still survive being recalled from Parliament if they apologise to the party leadership and toe the line.
He said: “If they were to come today and apologise they’ll be allowed back into the party. Obviously they’d be spared the chop. We are not here to chase away people from the party. We want the numbers. They just have to toe the party line.”
Mr Komichi, however, said, failure to apologise will result in the two also being recalled from Parliament.
“We are doing it (recalling) step by step. First it was Dr Khupe and the next stage we will deal with Bhebhe and Nomvula in similar fashion. The constitution is very clear. When an individual ceases being a member of a political party they stop representing that party in Parliament,” he said.
However, Mr Bhebhe dismissed the speculation, adding that there was nothing like that, further reiterating that he and Dr Khupe among others were the real MDC-T. The fight for the control of MDC-T has been taking twists and turns every day with both factions fighting for the control of the party.
Dr Khupe has enlisted the services of renowned lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku to challenge her recall from Parliament.
Dr Khupe’s camp argues that Parliament jumped the gun in expelling Dr Khupe. The two factions are also fighting over control of the name of the party and the matter is set to be heard at the Bulawayo High Court.
On Friday Dr Khupe told her supporters in Victoria Falls that she would also recall Adv Chamisa from Parliament in the event that the court reverses her ejection from the August House. Divisions in the MDC-T escalated after the death of the party’s founding president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in February.
Dr Khupe and her allies were expelled from the party last month after they refused to recognise Mr Chamisa’s nomination by the party’s national council as substantive party leader. She insists that she remains the party’s legitimate leader.
Former MDC-T national chair, Mr Lovemore Moyo, who was Dr Khupe’s key ally also quit the party last month. He announced last week that he has formed his own party- United Movement for Devolution. Analysts have noted that divisions in the MDC-T were a sign that the party was headed for a dismal performance in the forthcoming elections.
Adv Chamisa has tried to sugar-coat his perceived support by allegedly bussing supporters to almost every rally he has addressed to create an impression that he has a huge following. During his rally in Bulawayo last week, Mr Gutu claimed that Adv Chamisa and his alliance partners used more than $50 000 to hire buses to ferry supporters from other parts of the country.
Some of the bussed supporters from Masvingo ended up being involved in an accident while coming from the rally.