By Mandipa Masenyama and Thandiwe Garusa
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has suspended his deputy Thokozani Khupe with immediate effect pending investigations into various allegations levelled against her.
The opposition party’s information secretary Witness Dube confirmed the suspension.
“The MDC-T wishes to advise that First Vice President Dr. Thokozani Khupe has been suspended. A letter dated 12 January 2022 was personally delivered to Dr. Khupe and her legal team,” Dube said in a statement Wednesday.
“The suspension was with immediate effect, pending investigations into various allegations levelled against her.”
Dube did not mention the charges Khupe faced.
However, he added: “Investigations are being conducted by a team led by the party’s Arbiter General. The suspension is in line with the party constitution and is a result of issues that arose. Once the said issues are investigated and fully resolved, the party will communicate such.”
However, Khupe hit back at the suspension, saying Mwonzora had no authority to suspend her as he was no longer a recognised party member of the MDC-T after he wrote to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) saying that he will contest in the March 26 by-elections under the MDC Alliance banner.
Khupe’s spokesperson Ntando Ndlovu said they were not aware of the suspension, adding Mwonzora was now a member of the MDC Alliance.
“As far as we are concerned, Dr. Khupe is unaware of any letter that has been sent to her purporting to suspend her from the party,” he said.
“The so-called national standing committee that is said to have fired Dr. Khupe is a non-existent group of individuals which is very unconstitutional in terms of the party constitution and whatever decision that they have taken is null and void because Douglas Mwonzora’s term of office has long expired.
“Mwonzora has fired himself from the party because you saw that letter he wrote to ZEC and said that he is now MDC Alliance and in terms of our party constitution, that is an automatic expulsion from the party so he cannot make such decisions,” Ndlovu said.
He added: “Mwonzora does not have any legal authority or power to fire anyone from the party. Mwonzora was suspended by Dr. Khupe in 2020 so he cannot come back and say that he can suspend Dr. Khupe.
“Dr. Khupe is going to address the nation tomorrow (Friday) and that is when she will tell everyone what she thinks about everything happening in the party.”
The MDC-T is set to hold its ordinary congress on 5 March, amid reports Mwonzora was plotting to dump Khupe. According to sources, Khupe’s allies Khalipani Phugeni and Chief Ndlovu are also likely to fall by the wayside at the congress.