INDEPENDENT Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho North Jonathan Moyo has accused MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti of being the first lawmaker to violate the secret ballot principle during the election of Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly last month.
In an application lodged with the High Court last week seeking the nullification of the election of the speaker, the former Information minister said Biti failed to set an example, which his fellow MPs should have followed.
Moyo said Biti was the first person to openly display his completed ballot paper to members of his party despite the Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma informing the house earlier that the election was secret.
“I wish to place on record the fact that, because his name is alphabetically the sixth on the roster of honourable members of the House of Assembly and the first among members from the MDC-T party, Honourable Biti was the first person to openly display his completed ballot paper in deliberate and defiant violation of the election procedure that the first respondent (Zvoma) had laid out for honourable members,” Moyo averred in his founding affidavit.
Moyo said Bitiâ€™s unprecedented conduct caused more than a fracas in the house as legislators started shouting objections, including trading insults on top of their voices.
He said the voting process degenerated into disorder.
“He (Biti) actually led the way into utter disorder as captured in exhibit A in the attached video,” Moyo said.
Moyo said with the exception of only a handful of MDC-T lawmakers, the majority followed the example set by Biti to display their completed ballot papers and Zvoma did nothing to stop it.
According to Moyo, the MDC-T MPs would collect the ballot paper, take it to the booth where they would put an X against their candidate and come and open the ballot paper in front of their vice-president Thokozani Khupe, chief whip Innocent Gonese, party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa and Biti before placing it into the ballot box.
“I was able to witness the shocking behaviour because I was seated on the front row to the left of the chair directly opposite where honourable members Biti, Khupe and Gonese were seated on the front row to the right of the chair,” Moyo averred.
He said the MDC-T legislators, emboldened by the conduct of Biti and Khupe, became defiant in the manner they openly displayed their completed ballot papers.
“For example Honourable Amos Chibaya who represents the constituency of Mkoba defiantly and loudly challenged honourable members who were objecting to the rampant open display of completed ballot papers by honourable members from the MDC-T party by charging that, “Nyangwe tika vhura une basa reyi nazvo (Even if we open and display the completed ballots that is none of your business)?” Moyo alleged.
MDC MP for Mbare Pineal Denga is said to have shouted, “Ivoti yangu ka iyi” (This is my vote!).
He said various objections by Zanu PF MP for Chirumanzi-Zibagwe Emmerson Mnangagwa fell on deaf ears as Zvoma ignored them saying he was not taking any questions.
“In these circumstances it is now common cause that the election of Speaker on Monday August 25, 2008 was characterised by systematic and scandalous irregularities never before witnessed in parliament,” Moyo argued.
He said the election of the Speaker of parliament as conducted by Zvoma was unlawful in that it violated Section 39(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that states that “the Speaker shall be elected in accordance with standing orders”.
By Wongai Zhangazha