MDC-T FACTIONALISM: Senior Matebeleland members, including vp Khupe, Moyo and Bhebhe boycott fundraising dinner

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MDC-T factionalism has reached fever pitch amid revelations that senior party members, including vice president Ms Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo and national organising secretary Abednigo Bhebhe boycotted a fundraising dinner that was meant to mobilise funds for Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s chemotherapy.This was despite the fact that the three were in Harare for the National Budget delivered last Thursday by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa. Ms Khupe battled cancer a few years ago. The Matabeleland snub shocked the MDC-T leadership.

Mr Tsvangirai is battling cancer of the colon and receives regular treatment in South Africa. The treatment requires a lot of money. Reliable MDC-T insiders told The Herald that all was not well and the party risked either splitting or losing the Matabeleland support base.

“Three senior party officials namely vice president Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Abednigo Bhebhe, all from Matabeleland, snubbed the dinner dance. They were advised of the event well in advance and were all in Harare for the national budget. The budget presentation ended at 1600hrs. The dinner dance started at 1700hrs. We saw them but they stayed away from the event,” said a senior MDC-T official.

The source added: “In fact, Ms Khupe was on the programme. She was supposed to give the opening remarks but did not show up. It was actually announced that she absconded. Organisers had to replace her with the vice chairman Morgan Komichi. All the three vice presidents were on the programme with Khupe supposed to give opening remarks, Nelson Chamisa (inviting the party president Tsvangirai to the podium) and Elias Mudzuri (closing remarks).Chamisa and Mudzuri were present. It is all factional now.”

The source said the boycott by Ms Khupe and her colleagues was so visible that it forced the opposition party leadership to speak on the need for unity.

“Everyone who made an address noted the trio’s absence and spoke on the need for the party to unite,” said the top MDC-T official.

The source quoted Mr Tsvangirai’s address saying the opposition leader said: “I know that as a family fighting is inevitable. This is what shows that we are a big organisation. We should reconcile and move forward. Dzinotungana asi Dzinonanzvana. (We fight but we must reconcile)”

The source said Mr Tsvangirai, who was accompanied by his wife Elizabeth Macheka, looked frail.

His address lasted 30-minutes.

He went to the dance floor with his wife for a few minutes.

Mr Tsvangirai also told the gathering, “I want to assure you that we are going to defeat this cancer first then we will defeat Zanu-PF.”

Mr Chamisa reportedly also emphasized unity when he addressed the gathering. The source said Mr Chamisa stated: “This party should have one vision and one visionary. Our duty as party members is to follow the visionary and his vision. There cannot be two visions. Two visions become divisions.”

According to the source, about $60 000 was raised for Mr Tsvangirai’s chemotherapy.

Senator for the Midlands Lillian Timvios was the brains behind the dinner dance. The minimum contribution for the dinner dance was $50 for ordinary members, councillors ($100) and MPs $200.

Mrs Timvios is viewed as aligned to Mr Chamisa as two camps emerge in the opposition party with Ms Khupe on the other supported by Mr Moyo and Mr Bhebhe. Mr Bhebhe confirmed that he was in Harare on Thursday.

“If I was occupied then should I have torn myself apart,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from Ms Khupe and Mr Moyo were fruitless. Takunda Maodza: source-herald

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