Chamisa, Khupe Usher Ex-rivals Into Parly, Shut Own Selves Out

FORMER MDC-T co-vice presidents and now faction leaders Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe’s decisions to contest for presidency, albeit on a losing cause, has seen them surrender their parliamentary membership to former party rivals in what could have a bearing in the power dynamics within their individual formations.

Chamisa was Kuwadzana legislator for years. As party leader and a Harare MP, he could have easily retained his seat if he had opted to contest the parliamentary election in what is often referred to as a safe seat.

He polled 44,3% but failed to upstage President Emmerson Mnangagwa who got 50,8% of the national vote.

On the other hand, MDC Alliance co-principal and former MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti opted to subordinate his presidential ambitions to the more realistic parliamentary seat which he won emphatically with the aid of his former party in Harare East.

With the absence of MDC-T deputy president Elias Mudzuri who is now a senator, Biti remains the most senior MDC Alliance leader and thus could be the de facto alliance leader in parliament.

Similarly, Khupe who was MDC-T proportional representation MP for Bulawayo, chose to surrender the seat and instead go for national presidency, relinquishing her chance to return to parliament to Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who joined her from a rival MDC party.

Mushonga is now Khupe’s proportional representation MP for Bulawayo and goes to the legislative house leaving Khupe outside.

There are strong fears Biti may choose to use his parliamentary presence to propel himself to the helm of the MDC-T, something that may threaten Chamisa’s leadership ambitions.

Biti left the MDC-T after he had tried unsuccessfully to remove then leader Morgan Tsvangirai and is viewed as still having ambitions to lead a stronger political party.

Khupe, also, is now eclipsed by Mushonga, whose political career could have easily ended had she not sought the right to represent the former party when she left Welshman Ncube and his party.

Brian Tembo, an academic based in Bulawayo, says the situation could bring about jealousy and plots against the politicians if not handled well.

“Now that Chamisa failed to go to State house, he should atleast be in parliament to take his position as leader of his party in the house. If he does not, as he surely will, it means Biti can assume leadership since he is the most senior alliance member in parliament.

“This is an unhealthy situation as it could elevate Biti a bit higher than Chamisa leading to unhelpful personality clashes.”
says the commentator,adding,“Khupe, on her part, failed to go for the easier route of contesting for a parliamentary seat which would have taken her to parliament. She has allowed Priscilla to go to parliament.

“Their oversized ambitions have seen them lose their seats in parliament.”

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