- "If those who think that dialoguing with the President is selling-out and I said I am going to be dialoguing for a better life, then let me be a sell-out, but I will deliver a better life to everyone at the end of the day," Khupe said in Parliament.
By Mutsa Makuvaza
ALL the opposition MDC Alliance legislators stormed out of Parliament yesterday as Thokozani Khupe gave her maiden speech in which she said she was the Leader of the Opposition and would dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to improve the livelihoods “of the 14,6 million Zimbabweans”.
“I would like to thank the Lord Almighty for affording me yet another opportunity to come to this august House as a Member of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition,” said Khupe, but she was halfway through that sentence when all of Nelson Chamisa’s MPs immediately stormed out of Parliament.
She continued without paying attention to the drama: “I stand in front of this august House as a proud Leader of MDC-T and Leader of the Opposition in this Parliament. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all MDC-T members for the unconditional love they have given to me to this date.”
Khupe told her remaining handful of MDC-T and the majority Zanu-PF MPs that as opposition, their role is to question Government and hold them to account for their actions to the public.
“Our role is to represent the alternative government and therefore we are responsible for challenging Government policies and proffering solutions.
“Our role is to be the eyes and the ears of what the people are saying out there concerning their needs and aspirations and then come to this august House to raise those issues so that remedies and solutions are found and everyone has a better life.
“I would like to assure Zimbabweans that going forward, we will make sure as MDC-T that we perform our representative, legislative and oversight roles to the best of our ability and knowledge.”
The MDC-A MP for Mbizo, Settlement Chikwinya, was among those who led the walkout.
Without mentioning MDC-A leader Nelson Chamisa by name, Khupe blasted politicians who she said want Zimbabwe to come to a standstill because they were not in power.
“I would also like to state categorically that our purpose as MDC-T is not just about power and positions. Our purpose is about advancing the interests of the 14,6 million Zimbabweans so that they have a better life.
“The sad reality is that for others, it is just about power and positions: for the reason that I did not get the power and position that I wanted, Parliament must not operate; because I did not get the power and position that I wanted, Zimbabwe must come to a standstill, because I did not get the power and position that I wanted the country must be burnt down.”
Zanu-PF MPs overwhelmingly supported her throughout her speech, with some shouting ‘Seva!’.
When Parliament deputy speaker Tsitsi Gezi indicated that Khupe’s allocated time for speaking was running out, MP Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T, Hatfield) requested for ten minutes which were granted.
Khupe then continued her speech saying she was prepared to continue dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa if that is what would make life better for all Zimbabweans. She said she was not concerned by those who call her a sellout for believing in dialogue.
“Dialogue, energises people to work together and hence the reason why after every election, we must expeditiously get out of the election mood and move forward towards the development agenda.
“As the Leader of the Opposition I am going to be dialoguing with the President for a better life for everyone.
“If those who think that dialoguing with the President is selling-out and I said I am going to be dialoguing for a better life, then let me be a sell-out, but I will deliver a better life to everyone at the end of the day,” she said.
MDC Alliance legislators last Thursday also boycotted President Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation speech as they have done so since the 2018 disputed elections claiming Chamisa was rigged out of his victory by the incumbent working in cahoots with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Khupe and Chamisa have been fighting for control of the main opposition since the death of founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018. – Zimbabwe Voice ■