By Own Correspondent
Newly-elected MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has moved to pacify his rivals Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri by naming them his deputies even as they rejected his victory citing voter fraud and violence.
Unveiling his new executive on Wednesday, Mwonzora defended his win saying the election was held in compliance with the party’s constitution and democratic norms, and that the outcome was a true reflection of the “will of the people.”
Khupe, Mudzuri, and Morgan Komichi walked out on the court-ordered congress on Sunday accusing Mwonzora and his camp of using a fake voters’ roll that disenfranchised their supporters.
Khupe, who has since tested positive for Covid-19, went on to announce she had suspended both voting and Mwonzora as secretary-general of the party.
“Our first Vice President is Dr. Thokozani Khupe. This is by the operation of our constitution. We were having an extraordinary congress to elect a substantive president and therefore, the vice president elected at the 2014 congress remains the vice president of the party,” Mwonzora told a news conference.
“And I will be proposing to the National Council that the second vice president be Engineer Elias Mudzuri. But of course, this will depend on the decision of the National Council in view of the ruling of the Supreme Court.”
Komichi, who was first to turn around and recognized Mwonzora as his new boss, remains party national chairperson while former deputy secretary-general Paurina Mupariwa has been promoted to secretary-general.
Mwonzora also appeared to reach out to MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa saying he was not an enemy.
“The National Council will sit in January as extension to the just-ended congress to discuss further issues and national dialogue. Chamisa, Biti, Welshman or Mnangagwa are not my enemies, the real enemies are poverty and ignorance,” he said.
He also dismissed charges that he is working with Zanu PF to decimate the opposition. Still, he said he was willing to work with the ruling party for the good of the nation.
“I don’t need to be on the payroll of Zanu PF at all. This is what opponents who are trying to discredit you do. I do not become a member of Zanu PF just because I have disagreed with you,” the MDC-T leader said.
Khupe, who had initially rejected her appointment as deputy president, was Thursday morning reported to have accepted.
Citing party insiders, ZimMorningPost said Khupe had accepted the appointment subject to conditions.
“Khupe accepted the appointment but she is of the opinion that she should be the only VP,” a source was reported as saying.
“The presidium is yet to meet but she has already pointed out that she prefers to be the only deputy to Mwonzora. Another bone of contention is the position of the leader of the opposition in parliament. Khupe wanted to retain that position but Mwonzora rejected the request so that he can assume the position.”
However, Khupe’s options appeared limited after MDC-T lawyer Lovemore Madhuku endorsed Mwonzora in a legal opinion, writing that he was “duly elected as president” and remains so unless his victory is “set aside by a competent court.