Some voters in Bulawayo East constituency have vowed to object the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s decision to replace MDC Alliance National House of Assembly Women Proportional Representative Tabitha Khumalo with MDC-T interim president Thokozani Khupe following the recall of the former from Parliament.
Last week, ZEC gazetted that Khupe and other politicians from her party were nominees set to fill in seats in the National Assembly and Senate that fell vacant following their recalling from Parliament of MDC Alliance MPs by the MDC-T Secretary-General Douglas Mwonzora.
Following the gazetting of the names, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba invited voters with objections to lodge them with her office before the nominations are confirmed.
On Sunday, some voters in Bulawayo East held an emergency meeting in Mahatshula where they resolved to block Khupe’s nomination.
“As Bulawayo East voters, we are saying during the July 2018 harmonised elections, we overwhelmingly voted for the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa. Our constituency and our votes contributed to the cumulative provincial votes which formed the basis for the allocation of the proportional representative according to the Electoral Act,” said Gilbert Sibanda, who is spearheading the objection process.
“ZEC has a duty to respect our choices and should not allow the MDC-T to usurp our rights to choose our preferred representatives. Failure to abide by this duty is a clear infringement of our rights of association as spelt out in Section 58 of the Constitution,” he said Gilbert Sibanda.
Sibanda said voters in the constituency feel cheated by the replacement of their elected MPs by someone who was not voted for.
“The whole essence of elections the world over is for people to choose their representatives. Why have elections when people’s preferred candidates can be replaced by other people without the approval of their political parties?”
He said his team will this week hold meetings in all the constituency’s wards mobilising voters to lodge their objections.
Sibanda said they are also planning to meet voters in other affected constituencies and share notes on how best they can “protect their choices”.
Besides Khupe, other names set to replace expelled MDC Alliance MPs are; Yvonne Musarurwa, Lindani Moyo, January Sawuke, Memory Munochinzwa, Lwazi Sibanda, Sipho Mokone, Molly Dorothy Ndlovu, Tamani Moyo, Gertrude Moyo, Piniel Denga, Chief Ndlovu, Nomalanga Khumalo, and Teti Chisorochengwe. Khupe’s spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni has also been nominated.
By-elections are expected to be held soon for parliamentary seats that also fell vacant following the recall of more MDC Alliance MPs who include secretary general, Charlton Hwende, organising secretary Amos Chibaya, former chief whip Prosper Mutseyami, and Highfields West MP, Happymore Chidziva.