THE MDC-T cyber wars pitting senior party officials are threatening to turn ugly following the recent leaking of WhatsApp chats of senior members trading insults. Fresh details from the beleaguered party indicate that knives are out for party deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo and deputy treasurer Charlton Hwende accused of leaking the chats to the media.
Mr Hwende was not reachable for comment while MsKhumalo said: “I can’t say anything because nothing has been communicated to me.”
The two, according to party insiders, have been targeted by the Thokozani Khupe faction that wants them removed from the party’s Standing Committee.
The faction is reportedly also planning to pass a vote of no confidence on the two when the party’s national executive meets this Thursday.
According to the party’s constitution, only secretaries of organs should sit in the Standing Committee, but amendments were made by the national council, the MDC-T’s highest decision-making body between congresses, to include deputy secretaries.
The chat groups which include almost all the party’s senior leadership except leader Morgan Tsvangirai fly in the face of the troubled leader who early this year directed that the chat groups be shut down and no one discusses party business on social media networks.
Party insiders told Chronicle that the Khupe faction wants to push for the removal of the two from the Standing Committee for allegedly leaking heated exchanges between Mr Hwende and party secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora in the party’s group chat named “MDC-T Next Government”.
“There were chats leaked revealing an exchange between Mwonzora and Hwende in a WhatsApp group where Khupe is also a member. After the leaking of the chats, the Khupe faction of which Mwonzora is a member, wants to move a motion that all deputies be removed from the Standing Committee,” said an insider.
“The move, targeted at Khumalo and Hwende, is likely to also affect Mwonzora’s deputy, Paurina Mpariwa, who belongs to the Khupe faction. They want to defy a resolution of the party’s national council, typical of their disregard of the constitution and law.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Mwonzora were fruitless, but party spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu insisted that the party was united.
“Like any family, you have arguments but it doesn’t mean that the mother and father want to divorce. In any debate, tempers are bound to flare. We believe in robust discussions, but it doesn’t mean that the party is not united,” he said.
“Whoever leaked those chats has a sinister agenda and I would like to believe is not part of us but a Zanu-PF agent. It is normal that when people discuss, some lose their temper, but that doesn’t make them enemies.”
In the leaked chats, trouble started when Mr Hwende questioned why the party appointed Mr Costa Machingauta as acting organising secretary, yet he is not part of the Standing Committee.
“Is it true that Machingauta was introduced in the Midlands province today as the acting national organiser? queried Mr Hwende in the group chat on Satur- day.
“What happened to the organiser elected by congress? This rumour is getting currency.”
Things turned ugly when Hwende said Mr Mwonzora was an embarrassment and the first party’s secretary-general who failed to pay workers while collecting $4 000 in monthly allowances for himself.
“Those who say $4 000 was taken please post the proof thereof for this group to see. Those who go to the Press to bad mouth their leaders and pretend not to see please stand,” responded Mr Mwonzora.