MPs endorse Tsvangirai
By Chengetai Zvauya
HARARE – Seventy MPs yesterday pledged their loyalty to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, disassociating themselves from Tendai Biti and his co-conspirators who plotted to topple the opposition leader.
Tsvangirai held a parliamentary caucus with MDC legislators at Harvest House. And out of 91 MDC MPs in Parliament, 70 turned up for the meeting, with 12 sending apologies but expressing support for the MDC leader.
At least nine MPs have pledged loyalty to Biti.
The meeting was chaired by Tsvangirai. The MDC leader told the legislators that he would not countenance indiscipline in the party.
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesperson, said the meeting was called to update legislators on resolutions of the meetings of the MDC national executive and subsequently the party’s supreme decision-making body outside congress, the national council, that met at Harvest House on Tuesday, to deliberate on the state of the party.
“President Tsvangirai held an MPs’ caucus as he wanted to advise the legislators of the national council meeting held this week which expelled former secretary-general Tendai Biti and other eight MPs who held an illegal meeting at Mandel Training Centre,” Mwonzora told the Daily News yesterday.
“The caucus confirmed that Tsvangirai is in charge of the party and was the legitimate leader of the MDC who has the backing of the majority of the legislators. All of them who were present pledged to stand with Tsvangirai together with the entire party leadership in our political fight with the rebels that have been expelled from the party.”
Tsvangirai advised the MPs to inform party supporters in their constituencies countrywide on what has transpired and the decision of the party in booting out Biti and his team.
Legislators conspicuously absent at the meeting were Biti, Harare East; Solomon Madzore, Dzivaresekwa; Paul Madzore, Glen View South; Moses Manyengavana, Highfield West; Willas Madzimure, Kambuzuma; Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Lobengula; Bekithemba Nyathi, Pelandaba-Mpopoma; Evelyn Masaiti, proportional representative; Watchy Sibanda, proportional representative; Settlement Chikwinya, Mbizo; and Reggie Moyo, Luveve — all of them loyal to Biti.
The nine MPs attended Biti’s meeting on Saturday and passed a vote of no confidence in Tsvangirai, calling on him and other MDC leaders to step down.
Tsvangirai briefed the 70 legislators that Biti had no right to protect the nine MPs from recall in Parliament as only the leader of the opposition in the house, MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe can make that call.
Mwonzora said the MPs were grateful to Tsvangirai. There was no dissenting voice, with all of them pledging loyalty to Tsvangirai and denouncing Biti and his team.
Even the 12 who were absent from the meeting pledged loyalty to Tsvangirai.
Acting secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada read out names of the nine rebel MPs and said they had been summarily expelled in terms of Article 12 as read together with Article 5. 11. (A) of the MDC constitution.
Mwonzora said the MPs would be withdrawn from Parliament in line with section 129(1) (k) of the national Constitution. He said all the MDC MPs who participated in the Mandel meeting would be withdrawn from Parliament.
In a letter to Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, Biti branded Tsvangirai a leader of a “fascist clique” that needed a court order to overturn the decision of his Saturday “national council meeting” which the Tsvangirai-led group sledged as “bogus.”
Biti said in his letter no one could recall the nine MPs.
“In this regard, I was instructed to inform you Honourable Speaker that: No one in the MDC other than the secretary-general has a right to write to you on any issue with respect to our Members of Parliament particularly in terms of Section 129 of the Constitution,” read Biti’s letter.
Mwonzora said Biti was wrong in his interpretation of the MDC constitution as he had no mandate to write to the Speaker seeking to protect himself and other MPs from recall.
“Biti, as a lawyer, is being dishonest as he knows the law and what the MDC constitution says,” Mwonzora told the Daily News.
“He is deliberately misleading the nation that only he has the right to write the letter to Speaker of Parliament as this should be done by our vice president Thokozani Khupe.” Daily News