I declare a split: Thokozani Khupe says Mwonzora expelled, breaks away

The following transcript was compiled by our journalists from remarks by MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe as delivered in Bulawayo on January 21, 2022

The MDC-T is a social democratic party that was founded on values of constitutionalism. It is a party that operates under the dictates of the constitution. The sad reality is that this constitution has been mutilated and shredded into pieces by those who are supposed to uphold and defend it.

Article 9(1)(2a) enjoins the president to uphold and defend the party’s constitution. It therefore follows that the president cannot be at the centre of constitutional transgressions.

Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora has violated the constitution of the party during his term as the president of the party.

Mwonzora is an illegitimate president who is a product of a rigged extraordinary congress which did not form a quorum in terms of article 6(2)(7) of the constitution. If an extraordinary congress does not form a quorum, another extraordinary congress must be called by the national council within six months of the date of the incorrect congress.

This means that this extraordinary congress was supposed to be held not later than June 27, 2021. Therefore, he is an illegitimate president who has no power to preside over any party processes.

Firstly, he appointed a second deputy president in violation of article 9(2) of the party constitution. The MDC-T constitution does not have a provision for a second deputy president and this was correctly interpreted by the Supreme Court judgement of March 2020 in the famous Elias Mashavira case.

Douglas Togorasei Mwonzora went further and appointed the treasurer general and the secretary for information and publicity whereas the constitution in article 9(1)(4) only allows the president to appoint deputies to officers of congress.

He further added other people into the national standing committee violating article 6(4)(4) and this is problematic in the sense that the decisions that are taken and recommended to lower structures are questionable and are rendered null and void.

Mwonzora has gone on to disband the legitimate party structures, a case in point is the Bulawayo provincial executive, and replaced it with a bogus structure whereas article 6(9)(1)(7) is very clear on what should have happened to the 2014 Bulawayo provincial executive.

This reckless behaviour which calls into question the composition of the national council because legitimacy and correct 2014 council members have been replaced by fake council members. This scenario applies in every other province.

Article 4(3) of the party constitution clearly articulates that the MDC is against all forms of violence and does not believe in the use of violence as a way or means of attaining any political, social, economic or religious objectives.

Douglas Togarasei Monzora benefited from a violent extraordinary congress which was rigged and did not form a quorum. Perpetrators of the congress violence have not yet been dealt with to date. Mwonzora is protecting violent people in the party.

It is less than two months to the extraordinary congress and not even a single structure was dissolved from branch level to provincial level to allow for the extraordinary congress to take place, according to the way of the party’s constitution.

The MDC-T constitution is very clear on congress timelines and processes to the extent that article 6(12)(6) stipulates that branch executive committee members shall be elected at a branch assembly meeting held once every five years provided that elections are to take place at least two months prior to each assembly meeting held in terms of section 6(11)(2).

The MDC has at least five branches in each of the 10,958 wards which translates to 9,790 branches countrywide. What this means is that you need at least two months to dissolve and conduct fresh elections for all the 9,790 branches countrywide. This is a process which must be conducted meticulously and thoroughly because it is those branches that will elect the ward chairpersons, that form a substantial part of congress delegates.

It is also important to note that the constitution deliberately uses the word “at least” which means not less than. There is no way that these branch elections can be held over the phone or in one day as in Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora’s case where he ordered that this process be conducted in one day instead of two months. This is indeed irrational. This applies to wards, districts and provinces. This process which is supposed to be done in 10 months leading to the congress was conducted in six days.

According to a schedule released by Senator Morgan Komichi on December 23, 2021, branches and ward congresses were to be held on January 8 and 9, 2022, district assemblies January 15-16, 2022, and provincial assemblies January 29-30, 2022, followed by nominations of standing committee members.

The congress is to be held on March 5, 2022. You will then ask yourself whether this is a congress or what.

The MDC-T is a serious party, a government-in-waiting, and must always lead by example in whatever it does. From the above, it is clear that the Douglas Togorasei Mwonzora-led cabal congress on March 5 is nothing but a non-event which must be dismissed as a nullity with the contempt it deserves.

To make matters worse, Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora went to the extent of lying before a court of law in his sworn affidavit at the Bulawayo High Court. He said “no-one was recalled or expelled at all that is why no names were identified.” Josaya Makombe was said to be with a letter of recall and expulsion, he needed to attach it but he did not.

As a senior lawyer, he must know that perjury is a serious offence, it is clear that Mwonzora lied under oath when he claimed that he did not recall anyone yet in yet in connivance with this secretary general Paurina Mupariwa he had secretly written a letter to the local government minister July Moyo to the effect that Josaya Makombe, the mayor of Gweru, has ceased to be a member of MDC-T and therefore he must be recalled as councilor for ward 2 and subsequently replaced as mayor for Gweru.

As we speak right now Josaya Makombe has been replaced and his seat was gazetted by ZEC as a vacant seat. He went further to mislead the courts that in the MDC-T no-one can be recalled without due process which we all know its untrue.

I now turn to the issue of the MDC-T and MDC Alliance. The composite cooperation agreement was signed by the late Morgan Tsvangirai MDC-T, Professor Welshman Ncube MDC, Tendai Biti PDP, Agrippa Mutambara Zimbabwe People First, Jacob Ngarivhume Transform Zimbabwe, Mathias Guchutu MCD and Denford Musiyarira Zanu Ndonga.

Mwonzora has now formed a new alliance with the likes of Lucia Matibenga’s PDP, which was part of former vice president Joice Mujuru-led Rainbow Coalition. This is a completely new and different party.

In addition to this, Mwonzora has already notified ZEC that he will contest the upcoming by-elections under the MDC Alliance party. In so doing, Mwonzora has fired himself because in terms of the MDC-T constitution article 5(10a) membership of the party shall be terminated if a member joins or supports a political party other than the MDC-T. Termination of membership in these circumstances is automatic.

I would like to substantiate this by alluding to the fact that Mwonzora recalled several MPs and councillors because they were members of the MDC Alliance and recently he recalled Josaya Makombe because he was said to be a member of the MDC Alliance and therefore he had ceased to be an MDC-T member. This is a clear indication that Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora is no longer an MDC-T member.

With all these transgressions, he cannot continue at the helm of a democratic party such as MDC-T. As deputy president, I played my party in advising him in terms of my constitutional role in article 9(2)(1) which clearly states that it shall be the duty of the deputy president to assist the president in exercising his or her powers, functions and administrative duties as provided for in the constitution.

Today, the 21st of January in the year of our Lord 2022, we who are gathered here and many others scattered around the country who could not make it to this very important event declare an official split of the MDC-T. The MDC Tsvangirai has split and there are now two MDC-T formations, one led by yours truly Dr Thokozani Khuphe who is also the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, and their leader, I don’t know who their leader is going to be.

We are announcing this with a heavy heart because it’s not what we wanted but circumstances beyond our control have forced us to do this. I am appealing to parliament to desist from taking sides, the ministry of justice should also be fair in dealing with this issue.

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