By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
27 January 2014
MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khupe has come out strongly in support of embattled party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is facing an onslaught from close lieutenants to step down.
Khupe told SW Radio Africa on Monday that the party stands firmly united under the leadership of Tsvangirai as it embarks on both the internal and external process restructuring.
Things came to a head in the top leadership of the party when the standing committee met on Friday to discuss the state of the party.
However, much of that time was taken up deliberating a letter authored by deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma, calling on Tsvangirai to consider his position as leader following the July 2013 devastating electoral loss at the hands of ZANU PF.
In a sign that Tsvangirai cannot be easily dislodged, Khupe castigated senior party members for taking the leadership debate to the media. As a way forward, Mangoma suggested that Tsvangirai could declare his intention to leave office forthwith while an interim leadership under Khupe takes over. Khupe however was having none of that.
‘While internal debate on leadership should be encouraged, it must be done within the internal party platforms. It is undesirable that these be discussed through the press.
‘The party leadership will not allow the enemies of the party to divide it by sowing seeds of discontent and distrust among the leaders of the party,’ said Khupe, in an apparent reference to last week’s events.
Following the standing committee meeting on Friday, Tsvangirai and his top team went to a Harare hotel for his state of the nation address. Of all the standing committee members who attended the meeting, Mangoma skipped the address, while those in his camp, allegedly pushing for Tsvangirai’s ouster, were booed as they walked into the function room.
In his address, Tsvangirai told party supporters and diplomats that the current social and economic crisis called upon the MDC to play an active role to find a solution to this difficult period in the country.