THE country was plunged into political turmoil yesterday after the MDC-Alliance suspended participation in parliament pending wider consultations on total withdrawal, as the opposition furiously accused Zanu PF of seeking to create a one-party state.
NKULULEKO SIBANDA/ BRIDGET MANANAVIRE
Addressing a press conference in Harare, deputy national chairperson of the Nelson Chamisa-led party, Job Sikhala, announced the “disengagement” from parliament and withdrawal from all political contact with Zanu PF.
Sikhala accused Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa of abusing parliament to punish his party for refusing to acknowledge his controversial victory in the 2018 presidential election.
He said the MDC-Alliance has the capacity to unleash political havoc if forced into a corner. Zimbabweans, he said, must unite and take the fight to Zanu PF.
The strongly-worded statement comes hot on the heels of an announcement by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, that parliament had, on Wednesday, expelled four legislators from the MDC-Alliance following their recall by the MDC-T, led by Thokozani Khupe.
The Khupe-led party has insisted that the four, Charlton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), Thabitha Khumalo (MDC proportional representation), Prosper Mutseyami (Dangamvura) and Midlands senator Lillian Timveos were recalled after refusing to toe the party line.
The four, the party alleged, had clearly sided with another party (MDC-Alliance) at a time they should have stood with the MDC-T, which is the party that reportedly seconded them to parliament.
“(The party acknowledges) the desperate attempts by the regime to destabilise, weaken, and destroy the people’s party, the MDC-Alliance, a voluntary organisation, by seeking to force people to accept puppet leaders imposed upon it by the system,” Sikhala said.
“The MDC-Alliance rejects the illegal act in parliament to recall Members of Parliament from the MDC-Alliance at the instruction of impostors purporting to represent that party. (And the party is) … further rejecting the Speaker of Parliament’s abuse of parliament to fight the MDC-Alliance for insisting on Emmerson Mnangagwa’s illegitimacy. Only an illegitimate president will preside over this circus. State institutions are being abused to destroy the opposition using and abusing the instruments of the state.”
He said his party was clear that the recall of the MPs was a perpetuation of Mnangagwa’s revenge tactics for the pain and shame that the Zanu PF leader had endured as a result of the MDC-Alliance’s refusal to acknowledge him as a legitimate president.
“The MDC-Alliance is convinced that what is being witnessed is a war by Mnangagwa and Zanu PF through proxies against the MDC-Alliance for having defeated him in the 2018 elections. (Therefore) the endgame is to totally annihilate the opposition and establish a one-party state,” he said.
The Zengeza West legislator said part of Mnangagwa’s ploy would be to weaken the MDC-Alliance before forcing it to join a group of political players seen as apologetic to the Zanu PF leader.
“Concerned that the biggest crime that the MDC-Alliance and its candidate committed was to garner over two million votes in the last presidential elections, which was a serious threat to the system and the reason for this frantic effort to destroy or eliminate the MDC-Alliance … They want the MDC to join Polad (Political Actors Dialogue). They wanted the MDC leader, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, to become the MDC leader in parliament. They wanted the MDC-Alliance to accept the stolen election outcome and also wanted MDC MPs in parliament to recognise Mnangagwa as a legitimate president of the Republic of Zimbabwe after the stolen and disputed election of 2018,” he charged.
Sikhala said the MDC-Alliance will resist Mnangagwa’s shenanigans.“The national standing committee noted the perverse and insidious attempt by Zanu PF and its proxies to dismember the MDC-Alliance by executing a coup against the legitimately elected leadership of the MDC-Alliance under the guise of implementing the equally insidious judgment of the Supreme Court which seeks to foist Zanu PF proxies as leaders of the MDC-Alliance in brazen violation of the MDC constitution. The standing committee thus rejected in total, and with utter contempt, the Zanu PF and its proxies’ efforts to foist its cousins and partners as leaders of the MDC-Alliance.
“The MDC-Alliance parliamentary caucus shall forthwith suspend its participation in all parliamentary processes, programmes and activities pending the party’s consultations with its structures and a final resolution of the national council on the way forward given Zanu PF’s insidious attempted coup against the elected and legitimate leadership of the MDC-Alliance,” Sikhala added.
He said the party would soon roll out a consultative process to establish what course of action to finally take following the move to disengage from parliament.
“The MDC-Alliance shall forthwith disengage from all platforms in which the party has to interact with Zanu PF pending consultations with the relevant constituencies of the party, that is the electorate and Zimbabweans at large, on the decision for a total withdrawal from parliament,” Sikhala said.
“The MDC-Alliance will roll out a programme of action together with civil society, professional bodies, churches, labour, business, war veterans, political parties, women and youth groups. The MDC-Alliance will not accept the holding of a Zanu PF-organised extraordinary congress within the MDC. Zanu PF cannot write another party’s constitution and hold a congress on its behalf to impose a puppet leadership that will be tamable to Emmerson Mnangagwa as the principal leader of that political party. The line has been drawn in the sand and the threats are not empty.”
Turning to the three alleged architects of the recall, Sikhala said they had been expelled from the party and replacements to their positions would be announced soon.
“The MDC-Alliance has noted that Morgen Komichi, Douglas Mwonzora and Elias Mudzuri have decided to co-operate with Zanu PF and the state. They, therefore, have expelled themselves from the MDC-Alliance by joining another party and thereby automatically expelling themselves from the party which has accordingly resolved to relieve them of their positions in the party and to withdraw them from all positions to which they had been deployed by the party. Replacements have been made and shall be announced in due course.”
But Mwonzora scoffed at Sikhala’s statements, saying Chamisa’s camp had no locus standi to meddle in the recalling of MPs since the legislators belong to the MDC-T and not the MDC-Alliance.
He added that his camp has no plans to recall more MPs in addition to the quartet although those who felt they want to leave are free to resign.
“Parliament has already ruled on who has power to recall MPs from parliament and that is us. MDC-Alliance is not a political party but a grouping of political parties and the MDC-T has over 100 MPs. We don’t see any reason to recall them but they have a number of options and one of them is to resign in solidarity with those who were recalled. I can tell you that no one is going to resign from parliament. We have spoken to the MPs and they said they are not going to resign,” Mwonzora said.