MDC-T interim president Thokozani Khupe and secretary general Douglas Mwonzora Monday held their first press conference at Harvest House where they declared they have taken firm control of the MDC headquarters, now known as Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House (MRT).
Khupe Monday morning chaired the party’s first MDC-T Standing Committee meeting at the party head office in central Harare.
The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa claims it has rights over the property, which has been synonymous with opposition politics in the past 20 years.
Two weeks ago, security agents stormed the building and jettisoned the MDC Alliance to pave way for Khupe and her MDC-T. Both the police and army have however dismissed any involvement.
Addressing a press conference after the Standing Committee meeting, a highly confident Khupe flanked by senators Elias Mudzuri, Morgen Komichi and Mwonzora said the MDC-T was now in total control of the party, head office, and “its” 103 MPs.
“We have returned back to our founding values and principles of the MDC and we are going to make sure that whatever we do, we do it based on our founding values and principles as a movement,” Khupe said.
“We called you so that you know that we are here at the MRT House today, we are now working from the MRT House. This is the leadership, which is going to make sure that every Zimbabwean has a better life.
“I have been reinstated as acting president of MDC-T, meaning that I am currently the leader of that political party with 103 MPs in Parliament.”
Khupe also announced new Standing Committee members with Mudzuri appointed deputy chairperson. He will deputise Komichi.
Gift Chimanikire is the deputy organising secretary to Abednico Bhebhe, Chief Ndlovu is the deputy treasurer, Khaliphani Phugeni is the deputy spokesperson while the secretary for elections if Manase Tsvangirai, brother to late MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy is Gandhi Mudzingwa.
Meanwhile, there was tight security at MRT House with journalists subjected to a number of security checks and strict escort to the press conference room on the fourth floor.
An anti-riot police truck was parked opposite the iconic building amid fears, according to Mwonzora, of MDC Alliance youths coming and disrupting their operations.
“We saw in the court some people claiming that Harvest House belongs to them, we reiterate that Harvest House belongs to the MDC as a party and we will do everything in our power to safeguard our property,” he said.
“We want to make it clear that Harvest House is not a private property owned by a company, it is a property owned by the party and we will prove that when the time comes in the court of law.”
Mwonzora said he would not hesitate to recall rogue MPs and councillors.
Last month, four MDC Alliance MPs, Charlton Hwende, Lilian Timveous, Thabitha Khumalo and Prosper Mutseyami were expelled from Parliament on the instructions of Mwonzora.