FULL TEXT- “I Am A Proud Leader Of Opposition”: Khupe
28 October 2020

By A Correspondent- MDC T interim president Thokozani Khupe told parliament that she is a proud leader of opposition whose core mandate is to represent the over 14 million Zimbabweans including those who voted her into power.

In the 2018 elections, Khupe garnered a paltry 45 573 votes against rivals Nelson Chamisa’s over 2, 1million and Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2, 4million.

Said Khupe, while acknowledging and reacting to Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State Of The Nation Address (SONA) before parliament Tuesday:

“Madam Speaker, I rise to add my voice to the State of Nation Address which was presented by His Excellency on Thursday last week.

First of all, 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 –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – [HON. MADAM SPEAKER: Congratulations!] – [Hon. Chikwinya having walked out] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

Madam Speaker, today 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.

May the Lord Almighty bless them all. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay my condolences to all those who lost their beloved ones as a result of COVID-19. COVID-19 is real. It is an invisible enemy which strikes without you realising.

It is therefore important that we adhere to the lockdown protocols and restrictions and they will save our lives.

I would like to begin by talking about the role of the opposition. Our 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.

My question Madam Speaker is have we been doing this? – [HON. MEMBERS: No!] – If we have not, then we have been letting the people of Zimbabwe down. 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.

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 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

Madam Speaker, we are here to advance the interests of the 14,6 million Zimbabweans. We are here to represent them. Once elections have come and gone, it is important that we unite as a country, nation or people and advance the development across so that Zimbabwe becomes a developed country–[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

Madam Speaker, let me move on. The President spoke about issues to do with development and I would like to define what development is. Development is the ability of a country to satisfy the needs of the people using its own resources.

What are the basic needs that I am talking about? The basic needs are food, shelter, health, education, clean water and sanitation, energy, jobs and so forth. These are the basic needs which are required by the 14, 6 million Zimbabweans.

In order for one to have these basic needs, the definition says it is the ability of the Government, using its own resources, to satisfy the needs of the people.

Where is the Government supposed to get these resources in order to satisfy the needs of the people? Government is supposed to get the resources largely from our mineral resources. Zimbabwe is a very rich country.

We are endowed with enormous resources. Zimbabwe has got 60 minerals resources. We have got gold, platinum, diamond, nickel, methane gas and many more. Last time we heard that $15 billion from diamonds disappeared – [HON. T. MLISWA: Vakaba.] –

This is the money which Government was supposed to use to satisfy the needs of the people. There is gold everywhere in Zimbabwe but unfortunately – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – There are gold leakages…”