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Khupe barred from holding MDC-T Congress





THE government has barred interim MDC leader Thokozani Khupe from holding the party's planned extra-ordinary congress slated for July 31 - until the coronavirus pandemic is under control in the country, the Daily News reports.

The decision by authorities to stop the party from going ahead with its extra-ordinary congress followed a recent letter to the government by Khupe - in which she asked for clearance from the Health ministry for the gathering, which was due to be attended by 4 500 delegates.

The acting permanent secretary in the ministry of Health and Child Care, Gibson Mhlanga, said in response to Khupe that it was impossible for the MDC to hold its congress as the gathering would violate Covid-19 regulations.

"Your request for clearance to hold an extraordinary congress on 31 July, 2020 is not approved.
"We are in a Covid-19 lockdown and one of the requirements is that there must not be any public gatherings of more than 50 people. The delegates that you are indicating exceed the recommended number.

"Based on this requirement, it is, therefore, impossible to hold the meeting in this environment," Mhlanga said.

In the wake of the ban, Khupe's spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni said that the party was consulting its lawyers to chart the way forward.

"We definitely want to comply with the court ruling, but then again we are faced with a situation where the executive arm of government has told us that this is not possible at the moment.

"We have engaged our lawyers who are currently dealing with the matter.

"The party will, however, continue with its preparations as scheduled, until we have been shown the direction by the legal team," Phugeni told the Daily News.

A fortnight ago, Khupe had attempted to move the planned congress from this month to between September 4 and 6 this year, citing the national lockdown, whose regulations bar large gatherings - before she reverted to the original date of July 31.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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