SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THE GOVERNMENT has issued a stern warning to recalled MDC legislators who are refusing to return vehicles they got under parliament’s car loan scheme.
Thokozani Khupe, who was declared the legitimate MDC acting president by the Supreme Court in April, has recalled 21 legislators believed to be rallying behind 2018 presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa.
The minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is also the leader of government business in Parliament, told the Daily News yesterday that any attempts by the MDC legislators to resist returning the cars will attract legal consequences.
“Those who are refusing to return the cars, the law will be followed and all the legal processes will be done to make sure that we recover those cars.
“They are fooling themselves if they think that they can remain with the vehicles without fully paying for them; that will not be allowed and the Parliament administration has started the process,” said Ziyambi.
Asked if the authorities would arrest the recalled parliamentarians, the justice minister said: “There are legal remedies to recover the vehicles and we can follow that process to recover them or the money. They must know that the law is going to deal with them.”
Last month Clerk of Parliament, Kennedy Chokuda, said that legislators who wish to keep the vehicles would have to pay off the difference.
“Members who have been recalled from Parliament have an option to fully pay for their vehicles or surrender them to Parliament. If they surrender them they will have to pay any differences between the valuation of the vehicle. As required by the law we have already written to affected MPs to make a decision on the matter. We are simply guided by the law on this,” Chokuda said.
The legislators got top-of-the-range vehicles worth between US$40 000 and US$60 000 each under their parliamentary privilege. They are supposed to pay for them through a stop order for a period of five years.
Besides their average monthly salary of between $6 000 and $8 000, the MPs are entitled to $700 sitting allowances per session and fuel coupons.
Khupe and MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa have been involved in a fierce tussle for control of the country’s main opposition party since the death of the party’s founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February 2018.
The infighting worsened following the Supreme Court’s recent judgment which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court nullifying Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the party.
The court conferred the party leadership on Khupe and also directed that the MDC reverts to its 2014 structures and holds an extraordinary congress to elect Tsvangirai’s substantive successor.
Khupe has since appointed herself and her spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni, among the people, to replace the recalled parliamentarians.
The other nominees are Yvonne Musarurwa, Lindani Moyo, January Sawuke, Memory Munochinzwa, Lwazi Sibanda, Sipho Mokone, Molly Ndlovu, Tamani Moyo, Gertrude Moyo, Piniel Denga, Chief Ndluvu, Nomalanga Khumalo and Teti Chisorochengwe.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) invited voters with objections to the nomination of Khupe and the other nominees.