Vincent Gono, Features Editor
MDC-T presidential claimant and co-vice-president Dr Thokozani Khupe said she is ready to meet her rival to the throne, Advocate Nelson Chamisa to find common ground while a senior official warned that if the beleagured party did not arrest incidents of violence and use of tribalism to rise to positions they risk losing all the seats in Matabeleland in the forthcoming elections.
Dr Khupe rubbished the meeting called by Adv Chamisa on Friday allegedly to endorse him saying such meetings were purely consultative and do not make decisions that were binding.
She, however, hinted that it was too early for people to start touting for another split as she was pursuing internal remedies that she felt were not being reciprocated by enough commitment from the other party members.
In an interview yesterday, her personal assistant Mr Witness Dube said the co-vice president was eager to have a meeting with Adv Chamisa to discuss sticking issues with a view of finding each other before decisions were taken on the way forward.
He stressed the need for her safety to be guaranteed and for a venue to be considered, ruling out Harvest House (the party’s headquarters) saying it had become the pot from where violence against perceived and imagined political enemies was brewed.
“The possibility is there that the two may find common ground. They are not enemies but there are disagreements in terms of principles and values of the party that have to be ironed out. Dr Khupe is therefore pursuing internal remedies which include meeting with Adv Chamisa to find common ground. Let’s not rule out the prospects of them finding each other because what unites them is stronger than what separates them. The feeling is that the power grab that happened following the death of Mr Tsvangirai complicated things in the party and those are the things that will be up for discussion if the meeting succeeds,” said Mr Dube.
He added that it was wrong for anyone in the party to insinuate that Dr Khupe last attended party meetings eight months ago as it was not factual.
“Dr Khupe has been attending meetings. She even went to Adv Chamisa’s Chambers on 13 February a day before the president died. There is a difference between alliance meetings and party meetings.
“She has been quite consistent in her stance on the political alliance. She has unequivocally said she sees no value in it but strategic faults and president Tsvangirai had said he would want to hear her out but unfortunately he passed on before they resolved the alliance impasse and that was why she had approached Adv Chamisa,” said Mr Dube.
A senior party member in a seperate interview on Friday said Zimbabweans should not take lightly the Buhera incident where a group of MDC-T youths calling themselves the Vanguard attacked Dr Khupe, secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora and organising secretary Mr Abednigo Bhebhe.
The youths also wanted to set fire to the hut that the trio had sought refuge in.
“It is unfortunate that Chamisa supporters are using systematic intimidation to harass fellow party members. I was pained to learn that during the attack on Dr Khupe there were a lot of tribal undertones. It is very primitive to use ethnicity to win positions. Look just across the Limpopo River, Cyril Ramaphosa is now President of South Africa despite the fact that he is from the so-called minority Venda tribe while in Rwanda Paul Kagame despite coming from another so-called minority Tutsi is the President and has done well.
“It is time for Zimbabweans to discard leaders who want to rise to power through archaic ways such as tribalism,” said the official.
The official claimed by harassing Dr Khupe, structures in Matabeleland provinces were angry and envisaged a situation where it would be difficult for Mr Chamisa to hold meetings in the region.