MPs turn against Mugabe

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President Robert Mugabe’s persistent calls for elections next year are facing fierce resistance from parliamentarians who are still battling to get allowances dating back to 2008.

The 87-year-old leader is pushing for elections to be held in the first half of 2012.
Zanu PF also endorsed his decision at its conference in Bulawayo earlier this month, citing the dysfunctional coalition government as the major reason.

But MPs from across the political divide feel they have been unfairly treated by the Executive, which they believe benefited from the coalition government more than any other stakeholder.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that the call for an early election had caused disgruntlement among legislators who believe the contested poll result was the presidential election and not parliamentary polls of 2008.

“From a practical point of view, their disgruntlement is justified. The disputed election is the presidential and not the parliamentary. Therefore, MPs feel naturally short- changed,” he said.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo admitted that there could be some MPs who felt aggrieved, but the party position would have to prevail.

“I am not officially aware of the MPs’ concerns, but party supporters and members have a duty to follow decisions of the party,” said Gumbo.

During a joint caucus meeting last month, MPs called for, among other things, the immediate payment of their outstanding allowances and consideration for new single cab vehicles after their official vehicles were run-down during the constitutional outreach programme.

The MPs also threatened not to pass the 2012 National Budget vote if their demands were not met.

President Mugabe is aware of simmering dissatisfaction in his party as a result of calls for an early election, but has called on Zanu PF members to put the party ahead of self and not speak negatively about his presidential candidacy.