MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday called on his deputy Thokozani Khupe to set aside her “personal interests” and embrace the MDC Alliance. Tsvangirai said this during a poorly-attended rally to launch the united front against President Robert Mugabe in Bulawayo.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Khupe, national chairperson Lovemore Moyo and Abednico Bhebhe, who was suspended boycotted yesterday’s rally.
Opposition parties in the MDC Alliance failed to fill White City Stadium in Bulawayo amid claims Khupe’s supporters stayed away in solidarity with her.
Previous rallies held by the opposition parties at White City in Bulawayo, their supposed stronghold, have always been filled to capacity.
MDC-T party supporters blamed Khupe for the somewhat poor attendance amid claims her allies held door-to-door campaigns asking the people to boycott the rally as divisions in the party widen.
Party youths recently bashed Khupe, Moyo and Bhebhe during a meeting held at the MDC-T Bulawayo offices after they boycotted the launch of the MDC Alliance in Harare last month.
The three recently wrote to Tsvangirai pleading with him to postpone the MDC Alliance launch to pave way for dialogue after they expressed reservations over the party’s coalition agreement, particularly on the distribution of parliamentary seats in Bulawayo and Matabeleland.
Tsvangirai yesterday admitted the MDC Alliance had caused ructions not only in his party and — without mentioning names — said he was ready to have a dialogue with opponents of the coalition agreement.
The Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is also divided on the party joining the MDC Alliance, and some of the party’s senior officials such as Gorden Moyo were conspicuous by their absence. Moyo is the PDP secretary general
“We need this MDC alliance to help us move away from this political culture of Zanu PF. We have a serious leadership crisis. We may have disputes and disagreements but we must and we need to talk,” he said.
“The first thing we must understand is that there is nothing that beats dialogue.
“Of course, some of these disputes are informed by personal interests but these must be set aside. We must think of the interests of all Zimbabweans.”
The MDC Alliance brings together the MDC-T, MDC led by Welshman Ncube, PDP, Transform Zimbabwe under Jacob Ngarivhume, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) led by Agrippa Mutambara, Zanu Ndonga and the Multi Racial Christian Democratic Party.
“We cannot as an alliance be seen to be defending the status quo. I know we have disagreements, but we have to sit down and negotiate,” he said. “This alliance must be beyond our personal interests.”
Biti and Ncube in their address also called on Zimbabweans to embrace the MDC Alliance.
“We have decided to create this alliance because our people have suffered enough,” Biti said.
“We have decided to create this alliance to give our people a chance.
“I appeal to every democrat and Zimbabwean to embrace this alliance.
“This alliance should not be a cause of disunity, it should cause us to celebrate,” Biti said.
Ncube added: “This alliance is necessary to finish what we started in 1999. We must deliver on the promises of the 1999 agenda.”
Tsvangirai also used the rally to warn the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) against rigging the elections in favour of Zanu PF, saying Kenya had set a precedent following the annulling of that country’s election results.
Kenya’s supreme court on Friday ordered the cancellation of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent election victory, and called for a rerun of the presidential polls.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga had challenged the presidential election results, citing vote fraud.
The ruling by Kenya’s Supreme Court is a first for any African country.
“The first lesson we learn is that it is unprecedented in Africa, and good for democracy,” Tsvangirai said.
“It [ruling] has exposed those that had endorsed this election. If it happened in Kenya [annulling of the results], it means it can also happen in Zimbabwe.
“The lessons to ZEC is that don’t try to do what Kenya did.”
Mugabe and Zanu PF are accused of routinely stealing elections.