UPDATED: Khupe gives elections thumbs up

Dr Thokozani Khupe

Dr Thokozani Khupe

Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau

MDC-T president, Dr Thokozani Khupe yesterday endorsed the just-ended harmonised elections as free and fair as she implored stakeholders to move forward in rebuilding the country.

She came third out of the 23-candidate strong presidential contest.

Addressing journalists in Harare, Dr Khupe said the polls were the best that she had ever experienced since she started participating in elections in 2000.

She said despite the skirmishes that were orchestrated against them by the MDC-T faction led by Mr Nelson Chamisa, the polls were largely peaceful.

“I have participated in elections since 2000. I can honestly say that this was my first ever election where I have slept on my bed. Since 2000, we never slept in our homes; we would move our children to South Africa. I moved my twins out of this country in 2002. But in this particular election, I want to honestly say that we did not have any problems, I slept at my house, most of our candidates slept at their homes, so this is the freedom that we experienced as a political party. While as a political party we had problems of violence, skirmishes all of which were from our erstwhile cousins (Chamisa led faction) we can safely say this was a largely peaceful election,” said Dr Khupe.

“Compared with previous elections, honestly speaking, I think we enjoyed the freedom of going to vote.”

Dr Khupe said although they had some few issues with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabweans should focus on the bigger picture of rebuilding the country.

“Yes, as a party, we raised issues with Zec. There are things that they did not do to our satisfaction and to the satisfaction of many people. Those things happen. However, we are saying for the sake of moving this country forward, it is important as political parties to come together, put our minds together for the sake of oneness,” she said.

On media coverage, Dr Khupe slammed the private media for abusing her party’s advertisements.

“Both the public and private media were biased. Public media only came to the party late. Even the private media where we had advertised with the little money we had, they took upon themselves to abuse and demean our candidates,” she said.

Dr Khupe implored Zimbabweans to bury differences and be united.

“We either can continue to be a divided and polarised nation, engaging with the international community as a divided nation or be united. I have one common goal, in this light, the President-elect is advised to immediately after inauguration call a meeting of the 22 candidates and give them an opportunity to speak to a common vision. Please take note, my party is not calling for a Government of National Unity but for a common purpose and an opportunity for those that wanted to be part of the election. We need to show the world that we are together in the quest to change the lives of our people,” said Dr Khupe.

Without mentioning Mr Chamisa who has been refusing to accept election results in which he lost to Zanu-PF candidate President Mnangagwa, Dr Khupe said it was important for those who lost to accept results and aim to do better in the next election.

“It should not be about Thokozani Khupe, because I contested as a presidential candidate and therefore, I am supposed to be a president, and no other person. Let us look at those people who support us, our followers, let us look at all Zimbabweans,” she said.

She said the fact that she came third in the presidential election showed that women could do better than men.

Dr Khupe proposed that the independent commission of enquiry on violence that rocked Harare last week be constituted by Parliament and report to the legislature.