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MDC Alliance rips into Zanu-PF

by Staff reporter
06 May 2020 at 15:24hrs | Views
Confusion reigned on Tuesday after the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda announced that parliament - meeting for an emergency session to rubberstamp coronavirus lockdown regulations - had noted and endorsed a request to recall three Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) MPs by the Movement for Democratic Change-T (MDC-T) party.

The MDC Alliance's leader in the Senate, Lillian Timveous, was also informed she had been recalled.

Mudenda said parliament was "notified by the MDC-T party" on April 3 that the MDC Alliance's Leader in the House and Bulawayo MP Thabitha Khumalo (Proportional Representation); MDC Alliance Chief Whip and Chikanga-Dangamvura MP Prosper Mutseyami and the MDC Alliance's secretary general and Kuwadzana East MP Charlton Hwende "have ceased to be MDC-T members and no longer represent the interests of the party in Parliament."

Douglas Mwonzora, signing off as MDC-T secretary general, reportedly wrote to the Speaker with the recall request which follows a contentious judgement of the Supreme Court in late March which appeared to hand leadership of the MDC Alliance party to Thokozani Khupe, who participated in the July 2018 election as leader of the MDC-T.

Mudenda said he had written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission reporting vacancies in the three constituencies, while the Zanu PF-dominated Senate is also expected to follow suit in the case of Timveous.

MDC Alliance deputy president Tendai Biti said the decision to recall the party's MPs was a "declaration of war".

"We've given peace and dialogue a chance. What's happened today is a declaration of war. It marks the end of normal politics in Zimbabwe. We'll defend ourselves. We're not worried. We'll look the beast in the eye and fight," Biti said at a news conference following Mudenda's announcement.

Describing the proceedings as a "travesty of legality", Biti went on: "Everyone knows that we're the MDC Alliance led by the one and only Nelson Chamisa. We participated in the election of July 30 as the MDC Alliance. We contested with 23 other presidential candidates, we contested 50 other political parties."

Supreme Court judges in March said Nelson Chamisa's rise to take leadership of the MDC-T, as the party was then known in February 2018, was "fundamentally flawed by gross constitutional irregularities."

The judges however admitted that the ruling was "academic" and "moot" after the MDC Alliance and the MDC-T held separate congresses to elect new leaders, in which Chamisa and Khupe triumphed respectively.

"There is nothing to suggest that the situation will not continue for some time, or that the second appellant is likely to be eclipsed and supplanted as the leader of the party in the foreseeable future," the judges said of Chamisa in a judgement against the MDC-T.

The MDC Alliance rejected the ruling, with its implied consequence of nullifying Chamisa's leadership, and said it was an attempt by the Zanu PF-led government to usurp the party by sponsoring proxies.

At the heart of the dispute, taken up with the courts by an MDC member, was whether MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai breached the party constitution by appointing Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as vice president to a triumvirate with Khupe who had been elected at the party's last congress in 2014.

A High Court judge ruled that the appointments breached the MDC constitution, a decision upheld at the Supreme Court. Effectively, it meant Khupe was acting president when Tsvangirai died in February 2018, and not Chamisa, who went on to claim leadership of the party on an interim basis.

Khupe claimed leadership of the MDC-T, taking away some members of the party with her, but Chamisa would be confirmed leader of a new movement - the MDC Alliance - in June that year, going on to stand for the party in the elections in which election officials say he polled over two million votes, narrowly losing to Mnangagwa.

Hwende, who defeated Mwonzora in the MDC Alliance's internal elections in June 2018, said outside parliament that they would resist the recall.

"MDC-T, we don't know that party," he said. "We participated under MDC-Alliance. That's the party which sponsored us in parliament and I'm shocked that some people are now giving us a party.

"If you go to Kuwadzana today, people know the party that campaigned, people that they voted for. And for the record, the MDC-T party that was announced today was also participating against the MDC Alliance and they didn't succeed."

Khupe's MDC party, with her as leader, polled less than 50,000 votes but secured two seats in parliament - one in the National Assembly and another in the Senate.

Timveous told reporters: "I support president Chamisa. There's no retreat, no surrender to that. I'm clear on that and I don't care. I'm shocked because I went in as MDC Alliance, but they say I'm MDC-T. It looks like they want a one-party state."

The MDC Alliance, which can participate in by-elections to defend the seats or go to court to challenge Mudenda's move, did not say how it intends to respond.

The MDC had 64 seats to Zanu PF's 144 before the latest expulsions. An independent and a member of the National Patriotic Front hold the other two seats.

Source - zimlive