Source: Khupe plot to oust Tsvangirai exposed – Sunday News August 7, 2016
Lungile Tshuma and Rumbidzai Mbewe Sunday News Correspondents
A FACTION aligned to MDC-T vice-president Ms Thokozani Khupe allegedly plotted to oust party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai by trying to “steal” his medical files and present them to the opposition’s financiers mostly European envoys to prove that he was now “so sick and likely to be killed by cancer by 2017” hence the need to give him a retirement package.
However, Ms Khupe, the alleged mastermind, discovered that even if Mr Tsvangirai was to be pushed out as party leader, she did not have the right credentials to take over the party and allegedly told the envoys that she would forge an alliance with Zimbabwe People First leader Dr Joice Mujuru where she will be vice-president of the country if they win elections in 2018.
Sources said Ms Khupe allegedly met Mr Jesse Louis Jackson, a once Democratic presidential nomination candidate and an American civil rights activist in Morocco where she told him that Tsvangirai was sick and could not lead the party.
Insiders within the MDC-T national executive further revealed that Ms Khupe held a secret meeting in South Africa with Dr Mujuru and representatives of the Swedish government where they allegedly agreed to make Dr Mujuru a coalition presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2018 elections.
“Khupe held a meeting in Morocco with Rev Jessie Jackson where she told him about Tsvangirai’s weaknesses which include being fond of women and that he was ill. The Rev went on to report the issue to the state department and the president (Tsvangirai) was told by someone working in the state department,” said the source.
“They held a secret meeting in South Africa without the president’s knowledge with Mujuru together with the Swedish government officials and they agreed on a plan to make Mujuru the presidential candidate and the Swedish government was persuaded to give money for Tsvangirai’s retirement,” said a top official in the party.
The official added that Ms Khupe was to become a vice-president in the coalition government while party’s secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora was also to be given a senior position.
The Khupe faction is said to have used Mr Mwonzora to allegedly try to smuggle a doctor into the hospital in South Africa where Mr Tsvangirai was admitted to get his medical records which were to be given to the Swedish government to prove that Tsvangirai was seriously ill.
“They (Khupe faction) were planning to sideline the president ahead of the 2018 elections by making Mujuru the candidate in return Khupe was promised to be the country’s vice-president after the 2018 elections. Mwonzora was also promised a senior position in the new government,” said the official.
“To bolt their claim that the president was sick, Mwonzora tried to smuggle a doctor into the hospital where the president was admitted to but he was stopped by the Tsvangirai family members and hospital authorities. After the incident the president’s wife (Elizabeth Macheka) and his daughter Vimbai then banned them from visiting Tsvangirai in South Africa together with Chief Ndlovu (party’s chairman in South Africa) and Phungeni who were also banned from visiting the president or offering any money for his treatment.” Contacted for comment, Mr Mwonzora initially was jumpy but when quizzed further confirmed that he tried to get a doctor, only to help Mr Tsvangirai.
“I have no comment. I don’t think it’s true,” he said before saying “this is an issue which can be handled by the presidential spokesperson.”
Quizzed further on whether he took a doctor see Mr Tsvangirai in hospital he said: “I can confirm that I was concerned about the president’s health. I had just lost my brother and I tried my best to help.”
Presented with the story, Ms Khupe declined to comment on the matter.
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesman Mr Luke Tamborinyoka were fruitless as he was not picking his cellphone.
However, ZimPF party spokesman Mr Jealousy Mawarire confirmed meeting many parties including officials from MDC-T although he said their party leader Dr Mujuru “holds meetings with different envoys and government representative across the globe to explain her party policies.”
He said his party was ready to form a coalition with MDC-T when the “time comes” but denounced the claim that Dr Mujuru once met Ms Khupe with a possibility of forming a coalition.
He said: “We have since from the onset indicated that we want to form a coalition with any democratic parties and MDC-T is included but there are no formal talks with them at the moment. A serious political leader in the country will have to engage other countries around the country and whoever does not do that will be doing a disservice for his/her party. For the meeting which you mentioned, it’s not true.”
The recent move by Tsvangirai to appoint Mr Nelson Chamisa and Mr Elias Mudzuri as vice-presidents was allegedly meant to clip Ms Khupe’s wings whom he no longer trusted because of her presidential ambitions.
Recently, the party has been rocked by factional fights where Ms Khupe faction which is reportedly composed of Mr Mwonzora have been working hard try to thwart the ascendance of the two new vice-presidents.
In last week’s national council meeting, insiders said Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and South African provinces were quite vocal after they refused to endorse Tsvangirai’s appointment of Mr Chamisa and Mr Mudzuri as vice-presidents. The three provinces were clear that the appointments were meant to weaken Ms Khupe whom in their view has been loyal to Mr Tsvangirai.
Analysts said the party which has been rocked by splits before, might be headed for another divorce.