THE MDC-T leadership feud looks set to go to the wire after party Vice President Thokozani Khuphe vowed Wednesday to take acting party leader Nelson Chamisa head-on.
Khuphe described the opposition's disputed new leader as no more than late President Morgan Tsvangirai's personal assistant.
She was speaking during an interview with Voice of America's Studio 7.
The Bulawayo legislator was Tuesday physically attacked by MDC-T fanatics rooting for a Chamisa take-over following Tsvangirai's death.
The widely condemned incident happened during the last moments of the ex-Prime Minister's funeral wake in Buhera.
But Khuphe emerged from her ordeal to declare she was the only legitimate VP in the opposition who should ordinarily be seized with plans to convene an extra-ordinary congress which will decide on a new party leader.
Khuphe said she was sticking to her plans to call for the congress which Chamisa and his camp have since dismissed.
She did not mince her words in linking her attack to Chamisa's fanatical followers.
"For goodness me (sic), Chamisa was unconstitutionally elected as a Vice President and I want to put this record straight; when the President (Tsvangirai) appointed him, I was very clear to the President that I do not recognise him because there is no provision in the constitution which says 'you can appoint a Vice President.
"So as far as I am concerned, he (Chamisa) is your personal assistant. He doesn't exist. But that same person is now coming back and trying to usurp powers using violence. I am not going to accept that!"
Khuphe said party followers linked to Chamisa resented the takeover of a Ndebele and a woman at the same time to becoming President.
She added, "I want to stop that notion of saying a Ndebele person cannot be a President, of saying a woman cannot be a President.
"I want to tell them this very minute that even though I am a Ndebele girl, even though I am a woman, I can be a President."
The former deputy Prime Minister accused her colleagues of all abandoning Harvest House, the party headquarters, during the 2008 Presidential run-off violence leaving her to receive and comfort party supporters who had been hounded out of their rural homes through state sponsored violence.
She said she was the top party leader who ran around ensuring victims of the violence period which claimed an estimated 200 party supporters had food and were being admitted to hospitals.
At the time, Tsvangirai, who had posted a shock victory over Mugabe, although not enough to avoid a run-off, had fled to neighbouring Botswana fearing for his life.