MDC-T president Nelson Chamisa yesterday said he is engaging his deputy Thokozani Khupe to find common ground over a leadership dispute that has seen opposing factions engage in bloody battles of late.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU in Dete
The MDC-T national council (NC) a fortnight ago gave Khupe a seven-day ultimatum, which expired last Thursday to toe the line or risk expulsion.
But Chamisa said he had chosen to defy the NC resolution to allow dialogue to take place.
Khupe has also scoffed at the NC resolution.
“As president, I have given myself a task to engage Khupe because we are a party of peace, a party of tolerance, a party of dialogue,” he said.
“I keep insisting that we have to engage with Khupe and I am going to use my time in Bulawayo to try and engage with her as that is the legacy of our departed leader, a legacy of peace and unity.
“That is what I am going to push through,” Chamisa told The Standard in an interview.
Chamisa is headlining an MDC Alliance rally in Plumtree, Matabeleland South, today. He was in Dete yesterday.
Khupe has been arguing she is the rightful heir to the post left vacant after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai last month on the basis she was the only elected vice-president at the 2014 congress.
Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri were appointed by Tsvangirai.
Khupe and Chamisa’s supporters last week engaged in bloody running battles in Bulawayo fighting for control of the party’s offices, leaving many nursing injuries.
Bulawayo MDC-T chairperson Gift Banda and a several others, many of whom belong to Chamisa’s camp, are out on bail following their arrest over their alleged involvement in the skirmishes.
Khupe’s aide Witness Dube, who was left with a deep cut to the head, on Thursday said he was frustrated by the violence and was contemplating quitting, but Chamisa said that was not necessary.
Chamisa deplored the intra-party violence yesterday, adding it was giving him headaches.
“We need to try as much as possible to allow dialogue to take place. I am emboldened by the desire to find a win-win solution to the party. Violence is not part of our DNA,” he said.
“It’s alien to our DNA. We cannot allow ourselves as victims of violence to appear to have been baptised by that violence to then instigate it.
“This issue of violence is giving me headaches because I am a man of peace, a man of unity.
“We are not a party of violence, non-violence has always been our politics, politics of peace, tolerance and convergence and I am not going to quickly activate any resolution that calls for the expulsion of any party member before we exhaust all channels of dialogue.”