By Anna Chibamu
MDC-T interim president Thokozani Khupe has issued a bold dismissal of claims she sold out to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, telling her rivals she was prepared for dialogue with the country’s number one to try and resolve Zimbabwe’s myriad challenges.
She was contributing to last Thursday’s State of the Nation Address by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The former deputy prime minister in the now defunct inclusive government has come under fire from her former allies within the main opposition for embracing Mnangagwa, viewed as a bitter enemy.
However, the now leader of opposition in the National Assembly said Tuesday she will dialogue with Mnangagwa for a better life for every Zimbabwean.
Khupe said dialogue was critical for the national reconciliation process to be realised.
Said the Bulawayo lawmaker, “As leader of opposition Madam Speaker, l will have dialogue with President Mnangagwa for a better life. There are people with a notion that whoever dialogues with the President is selling out.
“Let me say that l will be dialoguing for the betterment of this country. If anyone thinks l will be selling out, then let me be one.”
Her speech was met with cheers from Zanu PF and MDC-T MPs.
MPs loyal to her MDC Alliance rival Nelson Chamisa quickly abandoned the legislative chamber as she stood up to make her contributions.
Khupe also told political leaders that development was the main goal of every country and its citizens, hence it was crucial to forget past election disputes and move forward.
Chamisa and his MDC Alliance leadership have refused to recognise Mnangagwa as national leader claiming he rigged the 2018 election at the opposition’s expense.
“After an election, we must expeditiously move out of the election mode,” said Khupe who emerged in the disputed poll a distant third.
“We must remove the toxicity of hate speech. We want peace and unity to prevail and speak with one voice.
“Leaders, let us be transformative leaders. Let us move away from fronting our personal interests at the expense of our people.”
Among other issues, she urged government to form strong institutions, calling upon investors to come in Zimbabwe and do business.