By Leopold Munhende
NEWLY-ELECTED MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora says his predecessor Thokozani Khupe will eventually cool down after she has been ranting and raving over being cheated out of her position by the former at a party extraordinary congress (EOC) weekend.
Khupe lost to Mwonzora by a wide margin in an internal poll she claimed was manipulated by the former party secretary general.
She caused drama on Sunday night when she attempted to stop proceedings during congress while claiming vote fraud.
Khupe proceeded to tell the media moments later that she had suspended Mwonzora.
Her lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku Wednesday however advised the former deputy prime minister her purported suspension of the ambitious politician was illegal, according to the party’s constitution.
Khupe also accused Mwonzora of misappropriating party funds totalling $6,3 million after angry party youths loyal to the new leader turned violent and attacked her as she walked out of the congress venue, the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
Other presidential hopefuls, Morgen Komichi and Elias Mudzuri also walked out of the congress citing cheating by Mwonzora.
However, Mwonzora has offered an olive branch to his rivals at the congress saying he understood their frustrations of losing in the chaotic poll.
“I know that there were a lot of things that were said, but that was a result of anger and frustration and this comes with competition,” Mwonzora said at his first press briefing as new leader at the party’s headquarters, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House.
“I think I must be a very frustrating opponent and I understand when my opponents get frustrated. That is to be expected, I expected people to get angry but I expect people to get over it.
“So we have had to allow a period of cooling for Madam Vice President (Khupe) in particular. I know she will cool down, I know that she will come back and assume her responsibilities,” said Mwonzora.
At the press briefing, Mwonzora installed Khupe and Mudzuri as first and second party vice presidents respectively. However, the two are yet to confirm if they have accepted the offer.
“We have been talking not very formally but through some channels so that we resolve whatever issue was there. I think that we must also learn to accept it when we do not succeed, but as I said in my acceptance speech, this was a contest and not a fight.
“I did understand the frustration that my colleagues could have gone through but I trust that they will get over it for the benefit of the party.”