MDC-T vice president Ms Thokozani Khupe last week broke down during the party’s national council meeting in Harare after receiving a barrage of insults from party supporters not happy with her push for the party to contest in the June 10 parliamentary by-elections.The beleaguered party met last Friday at its Harvest House headquarters and upheld its decision to boycott by-elections in the 14 constituencies which fell vacant following the expulsion of 21 former MDC-T renegade MPs from Parliament.
MDC-T members have, however, been jostling to fill the seven proportional representation seats.
In an indication of frosty relations between Ms Khupe and her boss, party president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC-T leader left his deputy at the mercy of ordinary party members who heckled and harangued her.
In scenes reminiscent of the time former secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer-general Mr Elton Mangoma were attacked by party youths in Mr Tsvangirai’s glare, Ms Khupe was insulted by a group of protesters who told her in no uncertain terms that she did not hold sway in Harare.
Ms Khupe, the party’s national organising secretary Mr Abednico Bhebhe and some officials from Bulawayo, including deputy mayor Mr Gift Banda, Mr Victor Maphungwane, Mr Agnes Mloyi and Mr Khalipnani Phugeni had reportedly made an unsuccessful campaign for the party to contest in the 14 vacant seats.
The seats are in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and the Midlands.
During the meeting held at Harvest House, insiders said a group of placard-waving party activists staged a demonstration against Ms Khupe on the 3rd floor denouncing her for opposing the party’s resolution.
“Khupe went to the protesters to call them to order, but they would not budge. They instead hurled insults at her and sang derogatory songs questioning her morals,” said a source.
“She was accused of being an MDC Renewal sympathiser and a Zanu-PF spy. The demonstrators told her that unlike in Bulawayo where she does as she pleases, Harare would not tolerate her bossy tendencies. As all this happened, Mr Tsvangirai did not make any attempt to go and defend Ms Khupe or reprimand the demonstrators.”
The insider said after receiving a barrage of attacks, Ms Khupe went back to the meeting and cried.
“She cried uncontrollably. She said she did not understand how party members junior to her would insult and humiliate her the way the demonstrators had done,” said a source.
In the meeting, Mr Banda, who was barred by the courts from the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chairperson’s post, reportedly tried without fail to get the meeting to “listen to minority voices.”
Before the meeting, insiders said, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces were commiserating with Bulawayo province, but made a spectacular U-turn in the meeting.
“Matabeleland North and South had before the meeting reportedly threatened to walk out of the meeting if the party insisted on non-participation,” said the source.
Khupe was yesterday not reachable for comment.
Party national spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday said: “I was at the meeting of the national executive. There was no way I could have seen what happened outside the venue of our meeting on the fourth floor of Harvest House. I can’t comment on something I didn’t witness.”