By Joseph Madzimure
ZANU-PF has dismissed allegations by the United States that it is involved in the recall of opposition members from Parliament.
Speaking at a press briefing at the sidelines of the 350th Politburo session at the party headquarters, the Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said Zanu PF had no role to play in the recall of opposition party members from Parliament.
Cde Khaya Moyo said the party cannot be threatened by the United States for the recalls made in Parliament.
“We have been under sanctions for more than two decades. They are saying they are now watching us because of the recall which we are not involved in. They must watch somewhere not us because we have nothing to do with the recalls,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
“They are already watching Zimbabwe through the sanctions. We are calling for those sanctions to go.”
Some sections of the media reported allegations made by MDC-Alliance vice president and former legislator for Harare East Mr Tendai Biti that Zanu PF played a role in the recall of the opposition party members.
The statements come after Mr Biti and five others were recalled from Parliament after the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) announced that they no longer belonged to the party.
Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda announced the expulsion last week.
Adv Mudenda said PDP secretary-general Mr Benjamin Rukanda wrote to him advising that the six had ceased to represent their party. Other members who were recalled include William Madzimure of Kambuzuma, Settlement Chikwinya, Kucaca Ivumile Phulu, Sichelesile Mahlangu and Regai Tsunga.
The letter was copied to MDC-T, MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, the Multiracial Christian Democracy, Zanu Ndonga, Zimbabwe People First and Transform Zimbabwe, which were all part of the MDC-Alliance ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.
Cde Khaya Moyo said over the weekend there were reports from some sections of the media saying that Zanu PF was responsible for the recall of members belonging to other parties from Parliament.
“I want to state clearly that we cannot be held responsible as Zanu PF for the recall of members of other parties.
“We can only recall our own members, not members of other parties. It is not possible. It’s illegal and I don’t think it will be acceptable by any authority in Parliament, the Speaker and the rest. So let it be very clear that we dismiss that report that we are behind the recall of members of the opposition.”
He emphasised that there is no legal instrument which can be used by any party to recall members from the opposition party.
“We have no mandate. There is no legal instrument we can use as a party to recall members of other parties in Parliament. Those who are being recalled are being recalled by their own parties not by Zanu PF. We have no interest actually in recalling people, because we have two third majority in Parliament
“So why should we lose sleep by saying we want to recall so and so,”
Further, Cde Khaya Moyo said members are recalled by their own parties, the Speaker of Parliament makes the announcement in the House.
The recalls of opposition MPs and senators follows major leadership disputes in two opposition parties, and a dispute over the precise legal status of the MDC-Alliance. These disputes have seen civil suits in the Supreme and High Courts with opposition party members suing other opposition party members. None of the suits involved the Government or Zanu PF.
The first cases resulted in a Supreme Court judgement brought by one group within the MDC-T against another group in the same party. The Supreme Court found, after going through the evidence presented, that under the MDC-T’s own rules, its party constitution, that Adv Nelson Chamisa had first been improperly promoted to a vice-president of the party and then had improperly taken control of the party after the death of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai. Thus the party leadership reverted to those who were in position before these improper appointments.
The MDC-T leadership then asserted that the MDC-Alliance was simply an electoral pact formed by seven opposition parties to prevent a split in the opposition vote in the 2018 elections. Those running the MDC-A said the pact had been converted into a new political party. The High Court found that the MDC-T position was the correct interpretation after looking at the papers presented by both sets of opposition leaders.
Under the MDC-A pact each of the constituent opposition parties had been allocated seats to fight on behalf of the alliance, that is they would nominate the joint opposition candidate.
The MDC-T under its original leadership recalled a large number of legislators on the grounds that they declined to acknowledge the party leadership, and even their membership of the party, and so were no longer members of the party. The same grounds were given by the PDP when it recalled its six MPs. None of the other five parties who made up the alliance have recalled members.
In yesterday’s breifing Cde Moyo said the Politburo also received the constitutional review process from the Secretary for Legal Affairs Cde Paul Mangwana following recommendations from the constitutional review committee.
The objective of the review process, he said is to strengthen and democratise the party.