by Grace Kwinjeh | The continuous attacks on MDC President Advocate Nelson Chamisa on the basis of former Vice President Thokozani Khupe’s jumping ship are unfortunate requiring a response that sets the record straight.

The main bone of contention being that Khupe made a personal decision to leave the party, abandoning sister comrades she had worked with for years, I am one of those who still cherishes many fond memories in the trenches with the comrade sister.

We are all at pains to understand what informed Khupe’s decision to leave, because for those who have remained and fought it out as women for their spaces in the party, the fight against Zanu PF at this point in history is more important than positions and trashing a brand our late President Morgan Tsvangirai sacrificed and suffered for.

Consequently, one is forced to interrogate Khupe’s abrogation of duty vis-a-vis the opponent’s praises and cheers. What interest does Zanu PF have in Khupe’s victory?

It is simply self-defeating to argue that Khupe’s fight is for the emancipation of women, when all she has done in the last few weeks is to be the vehicle and basis upon which Zanu PF has unleashed the most deadly attacks against Advocate Chamisa and the party he leads.

Taken in view of the fact that women even here in western democracies are still fighting for their spaces, with real fears in Europe of a regression in terms of women’s participation in political parties.

It is therefore, demonstrably foolhardy and sinister to narrow a global women’s fight for emancipation to Advocate Chamisa’s political rise, if anything by his latest pronunciations to advance the cause of women, he joins the ranks of Thomas Sankara and others who have championed the women’s cause.

In any event it is not a given that a female leader will automatically by virtue of sex advance the cause of fellow females and lift their status, we know of rabid female autocrats who rule over other women with no guilt or shame.

By her actions Khupe is inadvertently empowering the very system that has oppressed and marginalised women, making a mockery to the whole MDC brand and what we women as a collective have over the years struggled and fought for. Hired crowds that give comfort to Zanu PF but sadly and I hope she will realise soon the torment the people of Zimbabwe are going through. Yes, Zanu PF can laugh, but who is crying?

Our struggle as MDC women working side by side our brother comrades who include our President Chamisa, was not just about removing Robert Mugabe, it was about dismantling the whole partriarchal  Zanu PF system that impoverished the whole nation, with women suffering the most.

Women today are rising to fight against a corrupt system that has short-changed them. We see them in Marange, Hwange and many other places, across the country, rising to fight. Mothers, gogos are not playing games they want change and are cheering a young male leader, their decision is well informed as to the future they want to see.

After serving in the highest organs of the party for close to two decades, it is a lie of the highest order that Khupe has suddenly realised that the MDC is patriarchal and violent.

A lie that simple facts will expose.

When sister Khupe made the decision to leave the party, Advocate Chamisa spent days if not weeks pursuing her in order to convince her to come and take her rightful place in the people’s struggle.

Furthermore, the fact that senior female party leaders and those in the structures did not follow Khupe, resulted in her burning midnight oil amending a dubious version of an MDC constitution to accommodate political wanderers who were looking for homes, we were later to learn.
It is patently clear that people can gain traction by raising gender, race and class related issues in political and social debates. Former President Robert Mugabe was notorious for bashing Western countries at every opportune moment. Therefore, we can see what Khupe is trying to do, but it is very erroneous for her to attribute gender to her political problems.

Zanu PF has used the same method in the past. For a long time Zimbabwe’s opposition has been fed the narrative that by taking a stand against a black nationalist regime, they had invariably become sell outs or to use the derogatory term used in the United States of America in the past, they had become “house niggers”.
That system has now been laid bare and exposed under the so called new dispensation. It was a big lie. A fraud that was used to intimidate and devalue Zimbabwe’s opposition as being clueless when it came to engagement with international players. Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, we turn to another case of deception in the making.

These relentless efforts to try and define the MDC Alliance and the MDC led by Advocate Chamisa in particular as violent and patriarchal are not only misleading but very false. They are a sinister characterisation meant to attack and demean the Chamisa and MDC Alliance brand, based on the manipulation of facts to suit a certain narrative.

God willing, one day we will be at liberty to describe the trials and tribulations that other women faced at the hands of Khupe.

Advocate Nelson Chamisa is the man of the moment, a leader many now pin their hope for change and a better Zimbabwe.