SENIOR STAFF WRITER
UNDER pressure MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, pictured, yesterday caved in to his MPs’ demands and made a U-turn on an earlier decree ordering them to withdraw from Parliament.
The not surprising volte face came as more and more MDC legislators were defying the embattled youthful politician’s highly-contested order, which had caused disquiet among some of his followers.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo told the Daily News that all the MPs had attended yesterday’s parliamentary sitting after an earlier meeting of the national council at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House.
“The national council met to consider a report from the nationwide consultations … in light of the illegal recall … of MPs by the Khupe group.
“What came from the people is that our MPs should go back to work … while we observe how Parliament authorities behave with regards to the recognition that we are the party that brought the legislators to the august House,” Hlatshwayo said.
Yesterday’s major climb-down came as the Khupe-led group announced that it had fired Chamisa from the MDC, in a decision which could have serious ramifications on opposition politics in the country.
Chamisa and Khupe have been going at each other hammer and tongs since the death of the late MDC founding father, Morgan Tsvangirai – who died from cancer of the colon in February 2018.
Their mindless bloodletting has intensified ever since the Supreme Court ruled that the charismatic politician’s hotly-disputed ascendancy to the leadership of the country’s main opposition had been illegal and, therefore, null and void.
Adding to the escalating pressure on Chamisa was last Friday’s High Court ruling which dismissed an application that had been filed by his allies, seeking an order to stop Khupe from recalling more party MPs from Parliament.
This came after the Khupe group successfully recalled Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana), Tabitha Khumalo (MDC proportional representative), Prosper Mutseyami (Dangamvura) and Midlands senator Lillian Timveos from Parliament recently, as it flexed its muscles and demonstrated that it is fully in charge of the beleaguered party for now.
Chamisa had then instructed his MPs to show solidarity with their recalled four comrades by withdrawing from Parliament.
Instead, more and more MPs were continuing to defy Chamisa’s directive to withdraw from Parliament by attending its business.
On Tuesday, close to 20 legislators attended parliamentary sittings.
Among them was former Cabinet minister in the government of national unity (GNU), Tapiwa Mashakada — who, however, insisted that he still supported Chamisa, but had to respect people who voted him into office by representing them in the august House.
“We met as MDC Alliance and decided to come back to Parliament. We were elected by the people. So, we came back to occupy our democratic space.
“You can ask Chalton Hwende and he can confirm that. I am still secretary for research and policy in the MDC Alliance,” he said.
However, Hwende said Mashakada and the MPs who attended Parliament on Tuesday had sold out.
“Mashakada is lying. Our position is very clear. Those MPs who decided to side with Khupe are exercising their constitutional right,” Hwende told the Daily News.