Fungi Kwaramba and Farirai Machivenyika
At least 15 legislators elected on the MDC-Alliance ticket defied a Parliamentary boycott called by Mr Nelson Chamisa when they attended yesterday’s sitting of the National Assembly.
Stepping up the legal rows in the opposition, MDC-T interim leader Ms Thokozani Khupe yesterday terminated Mr Nelson Chamisa’s membership of the MDC on the grounds that he had formed a new party, the MDC-A.
The legal wrangle in the opposition is over the status of the MDC-A. The High Court has ruled that it does not have an independent legal existence, being instead an electoral pact of existing political parties, with the largest being the MDC-T.
The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that Mr Chamisa was not the MDC-T leader since party rules had not been followed and that the 2014 structures, with Ms Khupe as interim leader, had to be restored until a party congress made the final decisions.
The MPs who took their seats yesterday include Mr Tapiwa Mashakada, Ms Virginia Mafuta, Mr David Tekeshe, Ms Joyce Makonya, Mr Vincent Tsvangirai, Ms Dorcas Sibanda, Mr Peter Moyo, Mr Wesley Sansole, Mr Dingilizwe Tshuma, Ms Memory Mbondiya, Ms Francesca Ncube, Ms Brightness Mangora, Ms Concelia Chinanzvavana and Dr Ruth Labode, among others.
Mr Mashakada said they were elected by the people and were doing their duty as expected by the electorate.
“The boycott was just a form of protest against the recall of our colleagues, but we have decided to end it. We have consulted our constituencies and they want us to attend Parliament and represent them as expected,” Mr Mashakada said.
But he stressed that the group remained members of the MDC-Alliance led by Mr Chamisa.
However, MDC-Alliance spokesperson Ms Fadzayi Mahere said the boycott had not been ended.
“The party position has not changed. Only the National Council can change the resolution following consultation with the grassroots. Until then, the resolution of the Standing Committee remains in place,” she said.
The opposition has been embroiled in legal tangles since the Supreme Court ruled that Mr Chamisa had ascended to the helm of the MDC-T party without following the party’s constitution following the death of founding leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
The Supreme Court also nullified the appointments of Mr Chamisa and Mr Elias Mudzuri as vice presidents and ordered the party to revert to the 2014 structures and call for an elective congress with Ms Khupe as the interim president.
According to the Supreme Court ruling Mr Douglas Mwonzora reverted to his position as secretary-general and Mr Morgan Komichi to that of chairman.
Mr Mwonzora then recalled four legislators, Mr Chalton Hwende, Prosper Mutseyami, Ms Thabitha Khumalo and Ms Lillian Timveos.
Mr Chamisa’s group then resolved to boycott parliamentary proceedings in solidarity with the recalled four.
In a High Court action to reverse the recalls, that court ruled that the MDC-A was not a legal entity, although was a recognised political party for election purposes, since the only available evidence showed that it was just an electoral alliance of several parties with those parties nominating the candidates on an agreed formula.
This is the latest legal position, giving problems for the group aligned with Mr Chamisa who have consistently argued that they were no longer members of the MDC-T, but the MDC-Alliance under whose banner they contested last year’s elections.
The MDC-Alliance won 63 House of Assembly seats in the 2018 harmonised elections.