MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe “did not, and still does not” believe original MDC members are relevant to the political future of the country, former industry and commerce minister Prof Welshman Ncube has said.
“That is the core of the problem from day one, everything else she is saying is smoke and mirror because the main reason is she refused to be party of re-union of original members of the opposition,” said the MDC leader told journalists in Gweru last weekend.
Ncube is also the spokesperson of the MDC Alliance coalition which brings together politicians who were members of the original MDC party when it was formed in 1999.
The first major split occurred in 2005 with Ncube and several senior officials leaving, over differences with then party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Another group, led by former finance minister Tendai Biti, would leave after the 2013 election defeat, angry that Tsvangirai had refused to step down and allow what they described as leadership renewal.
The MDC-T looks to be splitting yet again with Khupe refusing to recognise the election of Nelson Chamisa to replace Tsvangirai who died from colon cancer in February.
Khupe had also opposed the MDC Alliance which Tsvangirai cobbled together in a bid to ensure the opposition faces the ruling Zanu PF party as a united front in elections due this July.
“There was obviously a clash of vision; a clash of strategies with the vice president (Khupe) and the late MDCT president Morgan Tsvangirai,” said Ncube.
“We all know that when we were building the MDC Alliance, president Tsvangirai’s vision was that, first, let us bring together the various pieces of the original MDC members and then, around the MDC, we then bring other parties so that it can be a big MDC Alliance.
“And that foundation was the old MDC, which is MDC-T, PDP and the MDC that I lead. That’s why he talked to me and Cde Biti and we agreed on that one and to build from there.
“Unfortunately, and regrettably, Cde Khupe had a different vision. Her vision was that the rest of us who have previously been one family in the MDC were not relevant to the future and she wanted the MDC-T to go into coalition with other political parties other than us.”
Ncube went on to say that Tsvangirai was “worried about this and very hurt and did everything he could to bring back Khupe” on board.
The former prime minister “regrettably passed on before he succeeded”.
“I know that now president Chamisa continues to send emissaries to her (Khupe) so that she can come back to that vision because we believe that, that’s the vision that works,” Ncube added.
“It is not a vision that president Tsvangirai built from the air. He went right round the country, consulting what people wanted and what is happening, as we go around the country, is a testimony that he understood the mood.
“For now, we continue to engage and encourage her (Khupe) to join the Alliance and we hope it’s not too late.”