EXPELLED MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu has reportedly been tipped to take over as deputy president of the opposition party’s offshoot faction led by Thokozani Khupe.
Khupe broke away from the MDC-T led by Nelson Chamisa after accusing the latter of manipulating the party’s national council to appoint him substantive leader following the death of party founder Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year.
Sources said Gutu was the frontrunner for the vice-president’s post.
“Gutu’s name is featuring prominently. Khupe will have one deputy and the position of national chairman will likely go to ex-organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe.
“The other position like national chairperson and organising secretary will almost likely go to women candidates,” a source said.
“There was a meeting at a local hotel [Harare] of some senior people aligned to Khupe where a list was supposed to be produced but this is still very secretive. A meeting is now set to be held in Bulawayo where the top leadership list will be finalised.”
But, Gutu laughed off the suggestion when contacted for comment on Monday.
“What I know is we will have only one vice-president. Zimbabwe is a small country that does not need two deputy presidents. Bigger economies like South Africa and Nigeria only have one and there is no need for us to have two. However I don’t know where you are getting your information. I have received an invite from an Ivy League university to do my PhD, I actually accepted that,” he said.
Khupe’s spokesperson, Witness Dube, also confirmed the party will only have one deputy president.
“Khupe will have no appointing powers and her face will not be part of our logo. She will have one deputy president if confirmed as substantive president of our party. You will get a list of nominations just before congress begins,” he said.
Chamisa skillfully negotiated his way through the political minefield to leave his rivals and co-vice president Elias Mudzuri shell-shocked. Mudzuri has since recognised Chamisa as party leader while Khupe has steadfastly stood her ground, leading to a national council resolution to expel her along with close associates Gutu and former organising secretary Bhebhe.
Khupe postponed her party’s extraordinary congress last week after Chamisa and his party rolled into Bulawayo for an MDC Alliance campaign rally.
The former deputy Prime Minister claimed she had taken the decision to protect her supporters “from violence”.
Bhebhe was not immediately available for comment.