DETE: CONSTITUTIONAL law expert Professor Welshman Ncube has defended election of Nelson Chamisa as MDC-T president as the latter extended an olive oil to his defiant deputy.
MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe has declared herself the legitimate elected acting leader and appears to have defied a seven-day ultimatum by the party to shape up of face the consequences.
Prof Ncube, who is also spokesman for the opposition MDC Alliance, was addressing hundreds of supporters at a Cross Dete rally on Saturday.
He said there was nothing illegitimate about Chamisa’s ascendancy as he chronicled how the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai picked the youthful politician as his successor.
“Our president chose Chamisa and the MDC-T national council endorsed him,” said Ncube.
“Those saying he is illegitimate because he wasn’t nominated by congress are lost. In any case, who calls for the congress, isn’t it the national council?”
Chamisa took over power following Tsvangirai’s death last month in a process bitterly contested by Khupe and other senior party leaders such as co-vice president Elias Mudzuri, secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and now-suspended national spokesman Obert Gutu.
However, while Mudzuri and Mwonzora appear to have grudgingly accepted the new leadership, Khupe and Gutu along with national chairman Lovemore Moyo remain defiant.
On Saturday Prof Ncube called on supporters to unite and revive the original MDC.
“Don’t be fooled because there is no other legal way this (leadership election) could have been handled,” he said.
“I am a speaking as a lawyer who teaches other lawyer. I taught Biti (Tendai) and I know what I am talking about hence don’t be fooled,” he said.
Taking to the stage later on, Chamisa said he will be visiting Khupe at her house on Sunday to chart a way forward.
“Our vice president was supposed to be here, but she is not happy with some issues,” he said.
“I had been given time by the council to engage her and the period lapsed two days ago. I still have to talk to her and I will go to her house tomorrow (Sunday) and sit down with her.
“We are a party of order and unity and we want everyone to come on board. I hope we understand each other and if it fails we will then allow those not happy to use their constitutional rights.
“We won’t send people away, but we will allow them to exercise their rights.”
Violent skirmishes between rival MDC-T factions led by Khupe and Chamisa rocked Bulawayo province last week resulting in more than a dozen members being arrested.
Those picked up included the party’s Bulawayo provincial chairman Gift Banda who, is also deputy mayor and city councillor Mlandu Ncube. They were released on bail and will reappear in court on April 6.
Tensions also reached boiling point during burial of Tsvangirai as Khupe and Mwonzora were attacked by some youths.
Mwonzora attended the Dete rally where Chamisa commended him for driving all the way from Harare to join the rest of the crew.