The interim leader of the MDC-T, Thokozani Khupe, yesterday recalled nine legislators belonging to the rival camp, and is expected to recall another 10 in a bid to strengthen her hold on the opposition party.
BY MOSES MATENGA/BLESSED MHLANGA/VENERANDA LANGA
MDC Alliance organising secretary and MP for Mkoba, Amos Chibaya, Happymore Chidziva (Highfield), Bacilia Majaya, Mucharairwa Mugidho, Virginia Muradzikwa, Anna Muyambo, Francesca Ncube, Nomathemba Ndlovu and Murisi Zwizwai were shown the exit door from Parliament.
Khupe’s MDC-T faction failed to win a single seat in the 2018 elections, but the Supreme Court ruled on March 30 that Nelson Chamisa was illegally elevated to the vice-presidency by the late former leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2016, allowing the former to take over at his death in 2018.
The court tasked Khupe to organise an extraordinary congress within three months.
However, most MDC members still regard Chamisa as their legitimate leader after he was elected at the party’s congress in Gweru last year and accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of meddling in the party’s affairs and of using the courts to force Chamisa to accept Mnangagwa as legitimately elected.
Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda, himself a senior member of the ruling Zanu PF party, announced the recall of the MPs in the Lower House, but the opposition party called the move illegal and a declaration of war against the people who voted their representatives into Parliament.
“On 23rd June, 2020 which is today, Parliament was notified by the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirayi (MDC-T) Party that the following Members of Parliament had ceased to be members of the MDC-T party and, therefore, no longer represent the interests of the party in Parliament, with effect from 23rd June, 2020,” Mudenda said before calling out names of the affected MPs.
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“Section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that, ‘the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker or to the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the member has ceased to belong to it’.”
Mudenda said necessary administrative measures will be taken to inform Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of the existence of the vacancies.
This brings the number of recalled MDC Alliance legislators to 13.
Sources in the MDC Alliance last night said the party was considering mass resignations from Parliament in protest. On June 5, armed soldiers seized control of the party’s offices at the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House on behalf of Khupe, while anti-riot police cordoned off the building and arrested MDC-A leaders led by vice-president Tendai Biti for attempting to enter the building. MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo said Zanu PF was desperate to destroy the party, adding the people were now ready to fight.
“They have declared war against the people who voted the MPs into Parliament. People voted for the MDC Alliance led by president Nelson Chamisa against Zanu PF and the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe.
Khupe and Zanu PF lost but they have continuously abused their relationship to overturn the people’s will. It is a coup against the people,” Hlatshwayo said.
“We are seeing the hand of Zanu PF all over this and they are using state machinery and institutions to destroy the MDC Alliance. It is a party voted into power by the people.”
In May, Khupe recalled Kuwadzana MP Chalton Hwende, Lillian Timveos (Midlands), Prosper Mutseyami (Dangamvura-Chikanga) and Tabitha Khumalo (Bulawayo). That recall was challenged in court by the four lawmakers and judgment is pending.
Biti said the Zanu PF government was afraid of people and was using state machinery to decimate the opposition, adding that they were now ready to die for their freedom.
“It is a foolish government run by foolish people. It is the worst among us, it is a kakistocracy,” Biti said.
A kakistocracy is a system of government that is run by the worst, least qualified, and/or most unscrupulous citizens.
“They have unleashed fascism in the country, they have closed space but that doesn’t work. The more you increase pressure, the more people quest for freedom, so people are hungry for freedom and people are ready to die for that freedom,” Biti said.
“A moronic project to destroy the movement using all levers of the State was always bound to fail. The people are clear. We are MDC Alliance led by one leader, Nelson Chamisa.”
He added: “Let us make this clear, you can arrest us, torture us, malign us, vilify us, but this is our struggle, the struggle for the democratisation and transformation of our Zimbabwe. We have never been cowards. We have never yielded on matters of principle, one which we are ready to die for.”
Analyst Rashweat Mukundu said recent actions by the Zanu PF government pointed to a plot to “annihilate” the opposition and create a one-party state.
“The plan by the Zanu PF government is to totally annihilate the opposition and create a more pliant opposition that in fact becomes a mini Zanu PF in form and deeds,” Mukundu said.
“This, however, is a plan that is hazardous as the citizens of Zimbabwe are more politically-conscious and they judge the energy that Zanu PF puts in attacking the opposition against the energy that the same party and government is putting in resolving bread and butter issues.”
“The best way for Zanu PF to destroy the opposition and appeal to the people of this country is by simply resolving the economic challenges, making Zimbabwe prosperous and respecting rights.
The strategy of attacking the opposition has only ignited anger among opposition supporters and may lead to more instability and hardly makes a contribution to ending both the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF’s fingerprints are all over the events in MDC issues.”