|MDC-T investigate DPM Khupe|
|Saturday, 28 July 2012 21:20|
Sunday News Correspondent
THE Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) reportedly dispatched a team to investigate Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, as the party tries to get to the bottom of the recent defections that hit Bulawayo province.
This move comes amid allegations that concerns have been raised over DPM Khupe’s constituency structures and reports of factionalism that are threatening to destabilise the party.
DPM Khupe is the Member of the House of Assembly for Makokoba constituency which was hit by the highest defections with over 200 members joining the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC formation.
The investigation team is said to have interviewed some of the members who defected and also party members from the Makokoba constituency.
Contacted for comment, the party’s national spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora however, said the party had only requested DPM Khupe, who is also the party’s vice- president, to submit a report explaining the defections and they had been satisfied with her submissions.
“After we received reports of the alleged defections we requested DPM Khupe and her colleagues from the affected areas to submit reports, which they subsequently did. I can safely say the party was satisfied with what they submitted.
“It is with these regards that we have come to a conclusion that these so-called defections were indeed stage-managed by our noisy neighbours who themselves are panicking, with the elections around the corner,’’ said Mr Mwonzora.
He further refuted claims that the party’s Bulawayo province is hit by factionalism, which was blamed for the recent defections.
“These camps emanated from the pre-congress era when various individuals challenged each other for various party positions but right now these people are working together and there are no divisions at all as is alleged,’’ said the party spokesperson.
According to impeccable party sources, a team from the party headquarters in Harare was in the city allegedly to investigate reports that DPM Khupe had surrounded herself with people that are fanning factionalism in the party, thus leading to the defections.
“These people came about three weeks ago allegedly to investigate our structures. The problem we have is that this was not even a sanctioned investigation since when we enquired from the head office they professed ignorance and worse still they interviewed people who are in the Hlalo camp, which we feel was one-sided,” said the source.
It is alleged there was a complaint that DPM Khupe was surrounding herself with trusted lieutenants including the Makokoba district chairperson, Councillor James Sithole, who are said to be ensuring that they weed out any form of oppostion to her leadership.
“We, however, view this as a response by the Hlalo faction after he got a vote of no confidence from our members for his role in the defections but we are not going to panic. We will move on to address this issue in the appropiate manner,’’ said the party source.
Efforts to get a comment from DPM Khupe were fruitless as her mobile phone was not reachable.
A total of 354 MDC-T supporters defected to the other MDC formation citing ill-treatment by the party leadership amid allegations that the defectors were reportedly part of a group aligned to Ms Thabitha Khumalo and Senator Matson Hlalo as reports, that factionalism that hit the party during its congress, intensify.
During the congress Ms Khumalo challenged DPM Khupe for the party’s vice-presidency while Senator Hlalo was involved in a bitter battle with Mr Gorden Moyo to be the party’s Bulawayo provincial chairperson.
A couple of weeks ago over 1 000 party members drawn from Makokoba constituency signed a petition to pass a vote of no confidence against Sen Hlalo and possibly have him expelled for his alleged role in the defections.