At war MDC’s crisis deepens…as close Chamisa allies are expelled from Parliament

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Fungi Kwaramba

CHIEF WRITER

kwarambaf@dailynews.co.zw

 

©️ THE battle for control of the MDC escalated yesterday after the group that is temporarily in charge of the strife-torn party — following last month’s Supreme Court ruling — recalled four top allies of Nelson Chamisa from Parliament, the Daily News reports.

The four legislators who were shown the door are Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), Tabitha Khumalo (MDC proportional representative), Prosper Mutseyami (Dangamvura) and Midlands senator Lillian Timveos.

Parliament confirmed that it had indeed sanctioned the expulsions after being notified on April 3 that the quartet had “ceased to be members of MDC-T” and, therefore, no longer represented the party.

“I do hereby inform the House that vacancies have arisen in the constituencies stated above,” House Speaker Jacob Mudenda said.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News after the recalls had been announced, reinstated MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said the decision had been taken to “ensure” discipline within the party.

This follows the recent Supreme Court ruling which annulled Chamisa’s hotly disputed February 2018 ascendancy to the leadership of the country’s main opposition party, after its much-loved founding father Morgan Tsvangirai succumbed to colon cancer then.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court further directed that the MDC should go to an extraordinary congress using its 2014 structures — a development that effectively installed Thokozani Khupe as the party’s interim leader.

“We are not recalling everyone, but only those four people as they have left us with no choice. As a party we are for unity and we pursue unity. We seek to build and never to destroy.

“Of course, there were some who thought they could recall us, but that has proved to be a tall order for them.

“The Supreme Court judgment is clear and does not need to be interpreted in any other way than what it is.

“Some people like Hwende and those of his ilk, who are engaging in acts of foolish bravery, should be guided accordingly. We have the power to recall MPs,” an uncompromising Mwonzora told the Daily News.

“However, let me reiterate that it is not our intention to recall more people. Therefore, all our MPs must take it easy. They must not fear anything.

“We are not a militia leadership. We are only dealing with a few individuals who really left us with no option,” he added.

Earlier in the day, party insiders had told the Daily News that the Chamisa group, through Hwende, had attempted to recall Mwonzora, Morgan Komichi and Elias Mudzuri on April 4 — who are all senators — but suffered a setback after their rivals approached Parliament a day earlier.

But MDC Alliance senior official Jameson Timba vowed yesterday that they would resist the move to recall the four legislators, on the basis that they were elected on an MDC Alliance ticket.

“The power to recall an MP resides in the sponsoring party. The only party that can lawfully recall MDC Alliance MPs is the MDC Alliance itself.

“There are four parties represented in Parliament, being MDC and Zanu PF — who are the major parties — and then two other smaller parties.

“That is the lawful representation in the Parliament of Zimbabwe. Anything else is fictitious and challengeable at law.

“The Alliance agreement fell away when the party resolved to integrate into one political formation called the MDC Alliance, which then contested the elections,” Timba said.

This comes as pressure has been mounting on Chamisa and his close allies, as more MDC stalwarts have pulled away from the charismatic politician in the simmering war for the soul of the party.

It also comes as authorities have confirmed to the Daily News’s sister paper, the Daily News On Sunday, that they will soon release $7,5 million due to the MDC under the Political Parties (Finance) Act to the group that is temporarily in charge of the party, following the recent court ruling — in a move which strengthened them significantly in the unfolding battle for the leadership of the party.

Meanwhile, the Daily News has it on good authority that Chamisa and his associates have been busy weighing three options as the ructions in the party continue to escalate — all of which present their own unique challenges:a Disregarding the recent High Court and Supreme Court judgments which nullified Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC, and continuing as if nothing has changed a Respecting the court rulings and preparing to contest positions at the extraordinary congress which the courts said must be held soon, or a Forming a new party altogether — which would be completely divorced from the successful political movement that was founded by the late Tsvangirai.

In the meantime too, the group that is temporarily in charge of the party is determinedly forging ahead with its plans to hold the court directed congress to choose a new party leader — piling further pressure on Chamisa, who maintains that he still leads the country’s main opposition.

In a sign of the trouble brewing for Chamisa, the re-instated chairperson for Mashonaland East, Piniel Denga, recently accused the youthful politician of acting contrary to principles of democracy.

“After the Supreme Court judgment that said things were not done according to our constitution, we have one group of leadership which is calling for us to implement our own constitution.

“However, there is another group of leadership that is afraid that if things are done according to our constitution they might lose their influential party positions.

“This group of leaders is now going about labelling as Zanu PF those who say let’s follow the constitution,” Denga said.

“Did Zanu PF write our constitution for us? Is it not true that Advocate Chamisa, through his lawyer in the Supreme Court case, agreed that the constitution that was being used was the correct constitution of the party?

“That is the same constitution that other leaders are saying let’s follow in line with the Supreme Court ruling,” he added.

Denga also said it was wrong for Chamisa and his allies to distance the MDC Alliance from the MDC because they were still using the party’s constitution.

“When was our party dissolved in terms of our constitution? Why were primary elections in constituencies allocated to (Tendai) Biti’s PDP and (Welschman) Ncube’s MDC not open to those from MDC T as was left by Morgan Tsvangirai?

“Why did we hold the Gweru congress as the party’s fifth if we have now become MDC Alliance?

“Why did Chamisa appeal against the High Court ruling if the ruling had nothing to do with our party? Dishonest leadership will not take the party anywhere,” Denga said further.

The former Mbare MP also claimed that he had taken Hwende to task on whether they would not have accepted the court ruling had it been in their favour.

“Hwende did not answer my question. As a response I started seeing my message to him being circulated in social media groups.

“I was also removed from the National Executive WhatsApp group and some leaders called me a sellout.

“If following our party constitution is selling out then I accept being a sellout in that respect. I am selling out dishonesty,” Denga said.

He also took a swipe at Chamisa for accepting Biti and Ncube back after they broke away from Tsvangirai, having called him names.

“When these two came back to the party they were celebrated, but no one asked them to renounce their Zanu PF membership as was alleged when they split.

“No one asked them to take back their words against our now late president. Biti called him ‘Gumbura’ and Ncube called him a dictator.

“These leaders said many unprintable words against our party and our late leader. When they went away they took with them party assets and money and everyone knows it.

“And everyone knows when they came back they did not bring back what they took with them,” Denga also let rip.

 

 

 

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