Zimbabwe opposition MDC's vice president, Thokozani Khupe talks to reporters at the Red Sea resort where African leaders are meeting ahead of Monday's general AU summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt Sunday, June 29, 2008. Zimbabwe's opposition appealed to the African Union on Saturday to send peacekeepers and a special envoy to stem violence and help mediate an end its country's political crisis. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

MDC-T President Thokozani Khupe on Friday evening attended an indaba of the party’s structures in Harare, where she told supporters that the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) platform has had its successes, adding that her belief in dialogue instead of confrontation was inspired by the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

Khupe, a veteran trade unionist just like Tsvangirai, was deputy to the MDC founding president for nearly thirteen years between November 2005 and February 2018 when Tsvangirai died.

Speaking in Chitungwiza last night, Khupe emphasized the need and importance of unity amongst the MDC-T family members as they await the imminent Supreme Court judgement on a case in which rival MDC leader Nelson Chamisa appealed a High Court judgement last year which declared him an illegal structure in the opposition movement.

The High Court ruling came after one Elias Mashawira, an MDC Gokwe District Organising Secretary, took Mr Chamisa to court for “unconstitutionally and violently grabbing power” at the late Tsvangirai’s funeral in February 2018.

Khupe last night said that the MDC-T shall be formally dissolved after the court’s verdict to give way to the 2014 structures if the Supreme Court upholds the High Court verdict. She added that the united party shall go for its Extraordinary Congress as one united family.

“If the Supreme Court rules to uphold the High Court ruling, we shall have to go for an extraordinary congress as dictated by our party Constitution, but we have to do this as a unified party,” said Khupe.

She hinted that she may not contest the presidency of the party and assured the members that she will respect the will of the people at congress.

“I will work with whoever would have won to complete what we started together in 1999,” said Khupe.

The MDC was founded in September 1999 as a labour based party, but with support from industrialists and farmers who were at the receiving end of a land invasion onslaught by war veterans backing Zanu-PF.

Her deputy in the MDC-T since 2018, Obert Gutu, last week resigned from the party for what he called private and personal reasons. He however indicated he had not resigned from politics.

Speaking on the Political Actors Dialogue which President Emmerson Mnangagwa initiated in May last year, Khupe said she had decided to change tact from what had been a confrontational approach that further divides the nation and has achieved nothing but hate amongst the citizens of Zimbabwe.

“After 20 years confronting our political opponents and yielding nothing, surely dialogue was not a bad idea. Who doesn’t want a united Zimbabwe where we differ in a civil and respectful manner?” she asked rhetorically.

Khupe told the gathering that she adopted the Tsvangirai approach of the Government of National Unity (GNU) when the late icon sat down for tea every Tuesday with the late Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe for the sake of national unity in between elections.

Regarding the successes of POLAD, she pointed out that due to their deliberations amongst 17 other political leaders, there will soon be free education for Zimbabwe’s children from Grade 1 to Form 4.

This shall be made law once President Mnangagwa signs the relevant bill, she said, adding that it will happen “soon.”

Khupe added that she and other leaders have also managed to fight for the rights of the girl child to access free sanitary ware at schools using the POLAD dialogue platform.

In a jab at rival leader Nelson Chamisa, Khupe challenged MDC-T supporters to think about what other leaders have achieved since losing the 2018 harmonised elections except to cause the arrest and deaths of dozens of civilians.

Hundreds of MDC activists are serving jail terms of up to six years after the January 2019 protests against fuel price hikes turned into a looting frenzy.

The meeting with Harare structures started at 18.00 and lasted three hours. It was held at a private venue in Chitungwiza.

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