Zimbabwe Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda today announced the recall of three opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party lawmakers from the legislature by their party, in a fresh escalation of intra-party infighting borne out of last month’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on the party’s leadership.
A fourth lawmaker was recalled from the Senate.
The court ruled that Nelson Chamisa illegally foisted himself as party leader following the death of MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018, and ordered it to revert to its leadership elected at its last congress in 2014.
At that congress, Chamisa was elected party secretary for policy coordination, a position he held until he was illegally appointed one of three party vice presidents by Tsvangirai in 2016.
The appointment to the vice-presidency, made simultaneously with that of Elias Mudzuri, was also quashed by the courts.
The Supreme Court ruling, instigated by Chamisa himself, effectively handed control of the MDC-T back to Thokozani Khupe, the third and only party vice president to have been elected at the 2014 congress.
She was outmanoeuvred by Chamisa for the party presidency after Tsvangirai’s death, and the two subsequently broke ranks – Khupe retaining one faction of the MDC-T, and Chamisa taking the other to form MDC Alliance with other earlier MDC-T prodigal sons Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube.
But the Supreme Court ruling swung the power pendulum back in Khupe’s favour, who gleefully embraced it and promised a root and branch leadership cull, and party reforms.
Today’s recall of party secretary general Charlton Hwende, Prosper Mutseyami and Tabitha Khumalo from the National Assembly, and Lilian Timveous from the Senate, is Khupe’s first Supreme Court-armed salvo against Chamisa.
Although Chamisa has dismissed the court ruling as inconsequential as he now considered himself leader of the MDC Alliance and not MDC-T, legal experts say he stood on slippery judicial grounds as he used the latter as the vehicle to power to the leadership summit of the former.
The parliamentary recall, mooted over several weeks now, is not only strategically targeting the most ardent Chamisa supporters to instill fear in the rest, it also represents the boldest and fiercest strike by Khupe.
Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda announced the recalls after today’s special parliamentary sitting, setting commotion inside the opposition party.
“On the third of April 2020, parliament was notified by the MDC-T party that honourable Charton Hwende, member of parliament for Kuwadzana East, Tabitha Khumalo, proportional representative for Bulawayo province and honourable Prosper Mutseyami, MP for Dangamvura Chikanga had ceased to be members of MDC-T party and therefore, no longer represented the interests of the party in parliament,” he said.
“I do hereby inform the house (parliament) that vacancies have arisen in the constituencies stated above. By operation of the law the administrative steps will be taken to inform His Excellency the President, Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of the existence of the vacancies,” he added.
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