BY RICHARD MUPONDE
PARLIAMENT yesterday sounded the death knell of the MDC Alliance after it announced the recall of six key legislators at the behest of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), effectively decimating the loose coalition of opposition parties which has now lost 48 MPs through recalls since last year.
The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance garnered 88 seats during the July 2018 elections.
This is the first time PDP has recalled its MPs, taking a cue from MDC-T, which has recalled 42 MPs seconded to the MDC Alliance.
The latest recalls, which affected Tendai Biti (Harare East), Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo), Kucaca Phulu (Nkulumane), Sichelesile Mahlangu (Pumula), and Regai Tsunga (Mutasa South), came after High Court judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba ruled last Thursday that the PDP faction led by Lucia Matibenga had the power to recall its MPs seconded to the MDC
Justice Chirawu-Mugomba, in an extempore judgment, ruled that once a person supported another party, it translated to “self-expulsion” from the original party.
In a letter sent to Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda to recall the six MPs, PDP secretary-general Benjamin Rukanda claimed that clauses 20 and 30 of the MDC Alliance agreement stipulated that the MPs remained PDP members despite winning the 2018 parliamentary seats on an MDC Alliance ticket.
Rukanda’s letter to Mudenda said the recalls were in terms of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution, which stipulates that the legislators concerned had ceased to belong to the PDP, which was a member of the MDC Alliance.
The MDC Alliance was formed in terms of the constitutive agreement signed by seven opposition parties on August 5, 2017.
“In terms of the agreement, seven political parties concluded a non-competing political co-operation agreement for purposes of contesting the 2018 general elections. In terms of clause 20 of the agreement, the member parties retained their individual identities and independence.
“Further, in terms of clause 30 of the agreement, each member party chose its own MPs given under its quota and retained authority over the same. Our party was a political party that these MPs belonged to at the time of the last election in 2018,” read the PDP letter to Mudenda.
Rukanda’s letter was copied to the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T, MDC led by Welshman Ncube, the Multi-racial Christian Democrats, Zanu Ndonga, Zimbabwe People First and Transform Zimbabwe.
Biti told NewsDay that recalls from Parliament by a faction of the PDP working in cahoots with the ruling Zanu PF party were meant to paralyse Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which he chaired.
He said the recalls of the six MPs were done when PAC was on the verge of releasing damning reports of corruption in State entities.
“We had those reports ready and my recall is to make sure these issues to do with corruption are not brought before Parliament. We will convene as a party and make sure we come up with a collective decision. Remember, we contested elections not under the PDP, but under the MDC Alliance,” Biti said.
He said the real issue behind the recall of Chamisa’s MPs was about cartels, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa who wanted to stop corruption cases from being publicised.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), they prevented me from moving a motion on Chilonga displacements in Parliament. Tomorrow (today), I was supposed to present a report on Zinara (Zimbabwe National Road Administration), and on Monday, we were supposed to cross-examine Zesa on (Kudakwashe) Tagwirei’s Dema deal and Wicknell Chivhayo’s Gwanda solar project. In a few weeks’ time, we were going to table the issue of land barons in Harare. So the cartels and Mnangagwa are responsible for this recall,” he said.
Meanwhile, former MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu and former MDC Alliance senator James Makore have joined Zanu PF.
The two met Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga at State House in Harare yesterday.
The meeting was also attended by Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Masvingo provincial chairman Ezra Chadzamira and politburo member Lovemore Matuke.
Their defections come barely three weeks after MDC Alliance deputy treasurer-general Lilian Timveos and MDC-T secretary for local government Blessing Chebundo also crossed the floor to the ruling party and were paraded at State House, with the ruling party saying it was expecting more defections from the opposition ahead of the 2023 elections.