Gloves off again in brawling MDC … as party’s unity quests  go up in flames, Khupe fires 10 more legislators

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Sindiso Mhlophe
and Blessings Mashaya
SENIOR STAFF WRITERS

ANY lingering hopes that warring MDC factions would soon come to their senses were quashed yesterday, after the main opposition’s interim leadership led by Thokozani Khupe, pictured, recalled a further 10 of the party’s legislators from Parliament.

This latest bloodbath, which the Daily News exclusively and correctly reported on last week, almost puts paid to any hopes of uniting Khupe and Nelson Chamisa as the MDC continues to shrivel owing to its senseless infighting.
This comes as analysts have warned that the once formidable party founded by its late and much-loved leader Morgan Tsvangirai is on the brink of total implosion — with Khupe and Chamisa tearing at each other savagely, to the utter glee of the ruling Zanu PF.
Interim MDC secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, suggested in an interview with the Daily News yesterday that the latest parliamentary recalls were in response to the illegal takeover of Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (MRT) House in Harare earlier this week by youths said to be loyal to Chamisa.
“If anybody wants to have dialogue with us then they should not set conditions …They know what to do … how to initiate dialogue.
“People in MRT House are not MDC youths. These are youths that have been hired by the G40 fronting outfit (MDC Alliance). They want to take over the party.
“Their so-called Alliance project has gone up in flames and so they want to disturb the preparation for the extra-ordinary congress,” Mwonzora told the Daily News.
“The reason for the recall of MPs is that they have ceased to belong to the party that sent them to Parliament.
“They continue to accept the lie that the MDC-T is not the legitimate party which is the authority over the Members of Parliament.

 

“Some of them were involved in the violence that took place at MRT House. We can never allow violence and we will always punish it,” Mwonzora added.
In announcing the recalls yesterday, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, said the expelled legislators no longer represented the interests of the MDC led by Khupe.
“I do hereby inform the House that vacancies have arisen in the constituencies stated above.
“The necessary administrative steps will be taken to inform … the president … and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of the existence of the vacancies in line with the section 39 subsection 1 of the Electoral Act as amended,” Mudenda said.
Section 129 (1) (k) of the national Constitution says: “The seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker or the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the Member has ceased to belong to it”.
Among those recalled yesterday included Chamisa’s deputy Lynette Karenyi-Kore, who earned her seat for Manicaland via the proportional representation route.
Others include Dorcas Sibanda (Bulawayo proportional representative), Caston Matewu (Marondera Central)), Concilia Chinanzvavana (Mashonaland West proportional representative), Susan Matsunga (Mufakose), Prince Dubeko Sibanda (Binga North), Unganai Tarusenga (St Mary’s), Eric Murai (Highfield East), Wellington Chikombo (Glen Norah) and Etheridge Kureva (Epworth).
Prior to yesterday’s sackings, the Khupe group had also recalled 21 other legislators — including MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende.
The latest recalls cast further doubts on the push by MDC youths to end the party’s mindless brawling.
On Wednesday, Chamisa distanced himself from the seizure of MRT House and also pooh-poohed the need to participate in intra-party unity talks.
At the same time, Khupe accused Chamisa and his allies of allegedly using violence to force dialogue with his MDC rivals.
“I have no time for quislings. I lead a political party, the MDC Alliance, and have no business in what is happening in other parties.
“They (the youths) want to drag me into issues of the MDC-T, but I really have no time for that. What has Chamisa got to do with Harvest House?” he told the Daily News.
But Khupe’s spokesperson, Khaliphani Phugeni, accused Chamisa of directing the seizure of MRT House by the youths who are said to be loyal to him.

 

This was despite the fact that youths from Khupe’s camp such as Paul Gorekore held a joint conference this week with their rival MDC Alliance counterparts, to announce the seizure of the building.
“The youths are still in there (in MRT House), but they are not MDC-T youths. We have a court order to get them out and the police will enforce the order.
“We work within the parameters of the law. Their invasion of our headquarters is at the order of Chamisa in his address to his people.
“On Saturday, he ordered them to violently take it over,” Phugeni told the Daily News.
He also said Khupe had sent an emissary to meet with the youths, to engage and persuade them to move out — but to no avail.
“If Chamisa wants to talk to us, he is welcome. But what you don’t do is to try to take us hostage and violently take over our headquarters as a way to force us into negotiations.
“We will not allow ourselves to be held to ransom like that,” Phugeni further told the Daily News.
This comes after party youths seized MRT House earlier this week in a desperate bid to force dialogue between Khupe and Chamisa.
The two have been involved in a vicious tussle for the control of the country’s largest opposition party ever since the late and revered MDC founder, Morgan Tsvangirai, succumbed to cancer of the colon on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
The Daily News has reported on the MDC’s senseless brawls consistently, fairly and accurately over the past two years — calling out the futility of the anarchy.
At the weekend, political analysts warned that the party’s futile infighting was driving the MDC to its death bed.
They also repeated their other warnings that the divided opposition would find it exceedingly difficult to compete with Zanu PF in the fast-approaching 2023 national elections.
The MDC has been ravaged by its futile ructions since Tsvangirai died from colon cancer in February 2018.
The infighting went a notch up after the Supreme Court judgment earlier this year which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court that nullified Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the party.

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