Khupe sings for her supper
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC-T) vice president, Thokozani Khupe, now seems to have resorted to bootlicking her superior, Morgan Tsvangirai, in order to salvage her political career.
Khupe has lately been under heavy fire for allegedly fanning factionalism in Zimbabwe’s main opposition party.
Leading up to the MDC-T congress in 2014, Khupe and Tsvangirai were in good books. But their relationship seemed to have been strained by the party’s decision to boycott recent by-elections.
Khupe has been linked to a group within the MDC-T peeved by the boycott, while Tsvangirai has not hidden his unhappiness over participation in any poll that is not preceded by electoral reforms.
The differences in approach had led many to suspect that days could have been numbered for Khupe in the MDC-T.
In a bid to hold onto her position, Khupe now appears to be reaching out to Tsvangirai by going over the top in showering him with praises.
After being invited to give a vote of thanks at the end of a ceremony at Harare’s Andy Miller Hall, on Saturday, where the MDC-T remembered victims of the June 27, 2008 election violence, in which many of the party’s members died, Khupe spent close to 10 minutes glorifying Tsvangirai.
She fell into a bootlicking frenzy that would probably have turned ZANU-PF’s most famous bootlicker, the former political commissar, Webster Shamu, green with envy.
“I would not have thanked you properly if I do not remind you of what our fallen heroes and heroines died for. They died to ensure that our God-blessed leader, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai goes to State House,” she declared, taking bootlicking to a level that left thousands of supporters crammed in the hall screaming and leaders occupying the high table stunned.
For someone who has made headlines over her serious altercations with party leader Tsvangirai, it was probably understandable why she had to go into overdrive to describe the former Prime Minister in exceedingly glorious superlatives.
“He is a God-blessed leader who is humble, a leader who has no blood on his hands, a leader who loves and has compassion for people in this country. They died so that he goes to State House and deliver the change they so desired.
“They believed that Save (Tsvangirai’s totem) would go to State House. They believed, they believed and they believed,” she screamed, attracting a mixture of wild cheers from the crowds and fidgets from leaders who visibly showed discomfort.
But nothing would stop Khupe, who then introduced new elements to the party’s slogans.
“All those who know that our president will take us into a new Zimbabwe say tshisa mbama tshisa; all those who know that our dear leader will be the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe in 2018 and yours truly (referring to herself) say chinja maitiro, chinja,” she shouted to an elated crowd, which took time to calm down. And when it finally settled down, she hit again.
“We have so many of our comrades with wounds that can only heal when justice is served and this can only happen if our president, Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai takes over as president of Zimbabwe.”
But she had reserved her best bootlicking antics for the last. And twisting the MDC-T acronym in excessive personification of Tsvangirai, she said the M on MDC-T stood for Morgan, D stood for deliver, C stood for change and T stood for totally. She thus ended: “…and indeed Morgan will deliver change totally.”
Khupe has over the years tried to establish herself as a political force in Matabeleland ever since taking over the vice presidency from Gibson Sibanda in 2005.
While her disagreements with Tsvangirai had been largely out of the public view, she however reportedly clashed with Tsvangirai after she vehemently opposed the party’s decision to boycott the June 10 Parliamentary by-elections.
Fourteen of the 16 June 10 polls — all of which were won by ZANU-PF — had been occasioned by the expulsion from the august House, in April, of legislators who formed a breakaway party, MDC Renewal Team.
MDC-T’s highest decision-making organ, the National Council, resolved to boycott the elections in line with its congress resolution of not participating in any poll until electoral reforms, they are demanding, are put in place.
Khupe, who deputised Tsvangirai in the Prime Minister’s office during the Government of National Unity era, has for many past weeks been under fire from hard-line MDC-T members who felt she was causing divisions in the party.
Tsvangirai has meanwhile been shuttling between Harare and Bulawayo to try and douse the flames but was twice heckled as he addressed a gathering in the second city.