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Khupe, Chamisa lock horns over chief whips

by Staff reporter
03 Jul 2020 at 18:17hrs | Views
MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe and his MDC Alliance rival Nelson Chamisa have opened a new battlefront in their war for the control of the opposition party following their appointment of different set of chief whips in Parliament.

Since the death of its much-loved founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February 2018, Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in a fierce tussle for control of the country's main opposition party.

This comes as the major theatre of action for the senseless bloodletting has been the courts after the Supreme Court's recent judgment upheld last year's ruling by the High Court which nullified Chamisa's ascendancy to the leadership of the party.

However, buoyed by a series of court victories - including the recent High Court ruling that pronounced her as the legitimate occupant of the MDC's highly symbolic Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House headquarters - Khupe has taken her battle to Parliament where she has so far recalled 21 legislators.

Khupe has also gone further to appoint new chief whips and leader of the opposition in Parliament to replace Chamisa's appointees whom she has recalled.

MDC-T deputy spokesperson, who also doubles as Khupe's spokesperson, Khaliphani Phugeni, told the Daily News yesterday that while the party had not appointed a leader in Parliament, "Paurina Mpariwa is the chief whip in the National Assembly while in the Senate we have Tichinani Mavetera".

But, in a counter-move, that could open floodgates for more recalls, Chamisa made new appointments.

MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende formerly wrote to National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda on Wednesday to inform Parliament of the new development.

"Please be advised that our party, the MDC Alliance has appointed the following members as the party leadership in Parliament: Hon Lynette Karenyi (acting leader of opposition in Parliament), Hon Erick Murai (acting chief whip; Lower House), Hon Jasmine Toffa (acting deputy chief whip: Lower House)," Hwende said.

Mudenda refused to comment on the development saying "these are matters that have been placed before the courts hence they are subjudice. So, I cannot comment now".

The courts have given the Chamisa camp temporary relief for its MPs not to be replaced by Khupe after some of them challenged their recalls.

Before the recalls, the MDC Alliance chief whip in the National Assembly was Prosper Mutseyami (Chikanga-Dangamvura), who was deputised by Nomathemba Ndlovu (proportional representative).

In the Senate, the chief whip was Lilian Timveos (Midlands) with Herbert Sinampande (Matabeleland North) as her deputy.

All of them have long been recalled after MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora wrote to the august House indicating that they had ceased representing the party's interests, pursuant to a provision of the Constitution.

On Wednesday, Senate President Mabel Chinomona announced that eight Senators had also been recalled for the same reason.

The nine were Meliwe Phuthi (Matabeleland South) Helen Zivira (Bulawayo), Siphiwe Ncube (Bulawayo), Phyllis Ndlovu (Matabeleland North), Keresencia Chabuka (Manicaland), Herbert Sinampande (Matabeleland North) Gideon Shoko (Bulawayo) and Tapfumanei Wunganayi (Mashonaland East).

Last week, Khupe recalled nine members of the National Assembly - including Amos Chibaya (Mkoba), Murisi Zwizwai (Harare Central) and Happymore Chidziva (Highfield West).

Others are proportionate representatives Bacilia Majaya, Macharairwa Mugidho, Virginia Muradzikwa, Annah Myambo, Francisca Ncube and Nomathemba Ndlovu.

This brings to 21, the number of MPs that have so far been recalled by MDC-T after the Supreme Court conferred legitimacy to the opposition party led by Khupe.

Meanwhile, yesterday Local Government minister July Moyo recalled four MDC Alliance councillors in Harare after receiving a letter from Mwonzora that they no longer represented the interests of the MDC-T.

In a letter to Harare City Council town clerk dated June 26, Moyo said the party had informed him that councillors Denford Ngadziore (Ward 16), Grisot Mandere (Ward 44), Jaions Kautsa (Ward 37) and Tonderai Chakeredza (Ward 31)  had been expelled from the MDC .

"In terms of Section 278(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as read with Section 129 (1)(k), Ward 16, Ward 44, Ward 37 and Ward 31 of Harare City Council are now vacant.

"In terms of Section 121 of the Electoral Act, please inform the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of the vacancies," Moyo wrote.

Source - dailynews