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Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (M.D.C) on Thursday recalled from parliament 18 lawmakers who defected from the party at the beginning of the year.“The MDC has today recalled fifteen House of
Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Thursday asked parliament to expel 18 rebel MPs on the grounds they no longer belonged to the party.
The 18 include Tendai Biti, a former MDC secretary general andfinance minister, thrown out of the party by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in April.
Biti’s MDC Renewal group had tried to suspend Tsvangirai for failing to unseat President Robert Mugabe in last year’s elections.
The turmoil in the MDC has weakened the opposition to Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980.
Last weekend, Tsvangirai was re-elected unopposed at an MDC congress, where party members resolved to recall Biti and his group from parliament.
On Thursday, MDC’s new secretary general Douglas Mwonzora wrote to parliament saying the 18 members, who had been elected as MDC MPs, no longer belonged to the party. The MDC holds 90 seats out of a total 351 in the two houses of parliament.
“Accordingly, and in terms of Section 129(k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, we hereby formally give notice to withdraw these members of Parliament with immediate effect,” Mwonzora said in his letter, seen by Reuters.
Under Zimbabwe’s constitution, if a political party recalls MPs, parliament declares the seats vacant and calls for a fresh election within 90 days.
But the issue is likely to spill into the courts and Jacob Mafume, spokesman for Biti’s group, said they were unfazed by the latest developments.
“It is a pointless gimmick, no one is moved. This issue is pending before many platforms,” Mafume said without elaborating.
The following is the list of those recalled from parliament.
1. Hon. Tendai Biti – Harare East Constituency
2. Hon. Willias Madzimure – Kambuzuma
3. Hon. Paul Madzore – Glen View South
4. Hon. Solomon Madzore – Dzivarasekwa
5. Hon. Lucia Matibenga – Kuwadzana West
6. Hon. Samuel Sipepa Nkomo – Lobengula
7. Hon. Reggie Moyo – Luveve
8. Hon. Evelyn Masaiti – PR
9. Hon. Bekithemba Nyathi – Mpopoma/Pelandaba
10. Hon. Moses Manyengavana – Highfield West
11. Hon. Albert Mhlanga – Pumula
12. Hon. Roseline Nkomo – Tsholotsho North
13. Hon. Settlement Chikwinya – Mbizo
14. Hon. Hon Judith Muzhavazhe – PR
15. Hon. Gorden Moyo – Makokob
Those recalled from Senate are
1. Sen. Sekai Holland – Chizhanje
2. Sen. Rorana Muchihwa – Chikomo
3. Sen. Watchy Sibanda – Mat South.