BY Veneranda Langa/Moses Matenga
THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance yesterday lifted its temporary withdrawal from Parliament, allowing its MPs to troop back to the House yesterday led by party vice-president Lynette Karenyi (Proportional Representation MP) and deputy chairperson Job Sikhala (Zengeza West MP).
The decision to call off the boycott was reached at a national council meeting held at the party headquarters, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House.
The MPs resolved to continue with their parliamentary work on condition the National Assembly recognises them as a political party that defeated the MDC-T and thus no other party had the right to recall them.
Chamisa’s MPs had temporarily withdrawn from Parliament in protest against the recall of four of their fellow MPs
by the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T after a Supreme Court ruling that endorsed Khupe as the acting leader, declaring Chamisa’s leadership illegal.
The party, however, said failure by Parliament to respect the wishes of the millions of people who voted them into power in the 2018 harmonised elections; the MPs would totally withdraw in protest.
Party deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo confirmed the national council resolution after their meeting, saying no other party had the right to recall their MPs and Parliament should respect that.
“Our MPs are back in Parliament as per national council resolution that they should go back and work for the people in the wake of this crisis,” Hlatywayo said.
“The MDC Alliance is a political party and the recent judgments by the High Court in two separate cases confirmed that we are indeed a political party and we have MPs in Parliament. Our MPs cannot be recalled by any party outside the MDC Alliance.”
He added: “The national council gave them the greenlight awaiting a detailed report on our consultations with the people as we always have been a people’s party.
“We are a political party not because the courts say so, but because the people have faith in us as a party as shown by the results of the 2018 elections.”
Yesterday, the party organising secretary Moses Chibaya also turned up, but was almost chucked out of the House for wearing a red face mask inscribed CCC, which the party uses to refer to their leader Nelson Chamisa.
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi, however, forgave him and ordered him to remove the mask.
Sikhala contributed to debate where he grilled Health minister Obadiah Moyo over COVID-19 testing.
“There are 15 million Zimbabweans and you only managed to do PCR [polymerase chain reaction] testing for 19 237 people and when compared to South Africa, which has tested five million citizens, it seems that the statistics that only 206 Zimbabweans tested positive for COVID-19 are not correct,” Sikhala said.
“There are also many people that have escaped quarantine centres and we need to be sure that they do not contaminate many more people.”
This was after Moyo issued a ministerial statement in the House where he said the country had the capacity to do COVID-19 tests on nearly 2 000 people per day.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, Zimbabwe carried out 19 237 PCR tests and 23 594 rapid diagnostic tests. We now want to have district hospitals carrying out COVID-19 tests using gene-expert testing,” Moyo said.
He also claimed that local production of protective personal equipment (PPE) accounted for 5% of the demand with most of them coming from donors.
Moyo also told the House that government had increased the number of health workers after employing 3 568 out of 3 700 frozen posts, which include 45 posts for skills not easily available.
Meanwhile, Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) roasted Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi over issues of people — mainly from the opposition — that are arrested, but with no successful prosecutions, which might imply that the justice system was targeting certain individuals.
“People are arrested or prosecuted, for example, lawyer Thabani Mpofu. I would like the Justice minister to assure the House that the justice system adheres to the Constitution and whether those arrests are genuine or personality arrests,” Mliswa asked.
Ziyambi said investigations were vested with the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
But Mliswa said he had been arrested 70 times and discharged 70 times, adding that former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo was also arrested but there was no conviction, which brings the country’s justice system into