ZANU PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi has showered praise on opposition MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora as a mature political actor, who has brought a fresh thinking devoid of rancour and acrimony on the country’s body politic.
Togarepi told the Daily News yesterday that Mwonzora’s leadership style had brought a different political flare, which had seen parliamentarians across the political divide having constructive debates in the National Assembly.
“Mwonzora has seriously changed the opposition politics. We went with them to campaign for chief (Fortune) Charumbira to be the president of the Pan-African Parliament position. We are seeing a different opposition.
“There is a lot of cooperation, there is constructive criticism. They come to Parliament to debate issues.
“I can tell you if you saw last week’s debate on exploitation of natural resources which was centred on Lupane gas, it was very rich, legislators coming up with very important views advising the executive to take urgent measures to exploit our resources to improve the lives of our people.
“The arguments were very constructive and complimentary, but there are some in the opposition who just want to criticise for no reason,” Togarepi said.
Togarepi said with the current opposition, they were now engaging in positive debates, devoid of name-calling, with both parties now pushing for national development.
“When an issue comes to Parliament, usually we interact either at committee level or as chief whips and we also engage the leader of the House.
“We sit down and say how we can deal with the issue so that it gives value to the people of Zimbabwe.
“I have seen a lot of cooperation from the opposition and when their reasoning is correct, we sit as the chief whips and the leader of government business Ziyambi Ziyambi and we give in if we have seen reason in what they are saying, there is always mutual cooperation,” he said.
There is a history of animosity between the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance parliamentarians and those from the ruling party, which has previously seen chaotic scenes erupting in the National Assembly.
Singing and banging of tables had been the order of the day, especially when either of the parties was not in agreement with propositions of the other group.
In 2018, MDC Alliance MPs walked out on president Emmerson Mnangagwa during his State-of-the-Nation address, which signalled the lingering bitterness between the parties.
However, since the recalling of 40 MDC Alliance MPs by the Mwonzora camp, there has been a change in parliamentary debates.
Mwonzora won the MDC presidency at the December 2020 extraordinary congress following last year’s Supreme Court ruling which removed Chamisa from the helm of the party and conferred the interim leadership to Thokozani Khupe.