ZANU-PF has no hand in the vicious infighting within MDC-T that culminated in the opposition party recalling four of its legislators from Parliament on Tuesday, a senior Politburo member has said.
Addressing a media conference in Harare after a Politburo meeting at the ruling party’s headquarters yesterday, Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Cde Obert Mpofu said the chaos within the opposition party was a result of legal processes that were settled by the courts.
MDC-T recalled four legislators, namely Mr Prosper Mutseyami (Dangamvura-Chikanga), Mr Charlton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), Ms Thabitha Khumalo (proportional representation Bulawayo province) and Senator Lillian Timveous (Midlands).
They were recalled in terms section 129 (k) of the Constitution, which states that: “The seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker or the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the Member has ceased to belong to it.”
The legislators were elected under MDC-Alliance, which is a coalition of opposition parties that contested the 2018 harmonised elections.
They were seconded to the Alliance by MDC-T, which recalled them from Parliament.
The opposition party has been entangled in a leadership wrangle since the death of founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018 and subsequent ascension of Mr Nelson Chamisa.
However, following a challenge by a party member last year the High Court ruled that Mr Chamisa had illegally taken over the leadership of the MDC-T.
The ruling was confirmed by the Supreme Court last month after Mr Chamisa had appealed the initial judgment.
The Supreme Court restored the 2014 party structures that were there before his ascendancy.
Cde Mpofu yesterday said the accusations by some members of the opposition party were a recognition that Zanu-PF was a party of choice.
“That’s a recognition that we are the party in power. We are the party of choice. The MDC is grappling with a decision by the Supreme Court and how Zanu-PF comes into it is something we fail to understand,” he said.
He added that the ruling party was not concerned with events in the MDC-T.
“Why should we enjoy on the basis of issues that we are not responsible for? We are happy that the law has taken its course, not only to MDC, but in all court cases, as a law abiding party, as a law abiding Government.
“So it’s not a question of being happy but respecting the rule of law which they have been talking about themselves and in any case it’s not Zanu-PF that went to court it’s themselves that went to court so the problem there is their own making and Zanu-PF can only say the law has taken its course,” Cde Mpofu said.
He dismissed allegations by Mr Tendai Biti that Zanu-PF was behind MDC-T secretary general Mr Douglas Mwonzora’s recall of the four legislators.
He said Mr Mwonzora had never been a member of Zanu-PF.
“They think that by aligning with him Zanu-PF, their supporters will believe that he is Zanu-PF but he is not. But what would you expect from a frustrated and defeated leader,” he said.
Commenting on the recall, Mr Mwonzora said the four had acted in an irresponsible manner.
“These members did something wrong. Besides being in authority and in a position of responsibility, they actually acted in a manner that called for an action like this. For example, Honourable Hwende tweeted that he was no longer a member of the MDC that was once led by Tsvangirai.
“That is a statement we can never allow because it is both factually and politically incorrect,” said Mr Mwonzora.
Following their recall, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda said Parliament would notify President Mnangagwa to proclaim dates for by-elections to replace them.