MDC-T deputy spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo has been fired from her post amid claims by party insiders that she is the victim of her acrimonious relationship with party deputy president, Thokozani Khupe.Party insiders said, Public Works minister Joel Gabbuza will take over as party deputy spokesperson.
Contacted by the Zimbabwe Independent, Khumalo refused to comment on her removal from the post saying “the MDC-T is not about individuals, but about achieving developmental goals.”
“I went into politics to achieve things for the people, not to become famous,” said Khumalo. “There are 46 suburbs in my constituency (Bulawayo East) stretching from Woodville to Burnside and l did a big job of creating party structures that were non-existent when the constituency was delineated. That is how people will judge me.”
In March, Gorden Moyo (MDC-T provincial chairman) and Dorcas Sibanda were part of the Bulawayo provincial leadership that reportedly wrote to the party’s Bulawayo East district demanding the immediate sacking of Khumalo for failing to hold feedback meetings after the MDC-T congress last year, and failing to conduct district leadership workshops.
Party insiders say there is no love lost between Khupe, deputy prime minister in Zimbabwe’s unity government, and Khumalo, ever since Khumalo’s bid for the deputy presidency — won by Khupe — at the party’s national congress last year.
They also claimed Khupe had roped in Sibanda, Albert Mhlanga and Moyo in her bid to sideline Khumalo.
Sibanda, the officials said, would then contest the Bulawayo East seat as a way of punishing Khumalo for challenging Khupe for the vice-presidency at the party congress held in Bulawayo.
“Khupe and her allies are going to kill many birds with one stone if the plan succeeds,” said the official.
“She will get a soft landing in the ‘safe’ Bulawayo Central constituency and leave Makokoba to Matson Hlalo who is popular there. She will appease Hlalo and also get her revenge on Khumalo for challenging her for the vice-presidency last year.”
Hlalo lost the provincial chairperson’s post to Moyo in elections characterised by violence and allegations of vote-rigging.
Khupe had initially sought to contest the rural Nkayi seat, but was warned she risked losing relevance and her post as party deputy president by moving away from an urban constituency, especially in Bulawayo.
Relations between Khupe and Khumalo have been strained since the Bulawayo congress.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti on Tuesday referred all questions to party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora whose mobile phone went unanswered for the past three days.