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15 MPs (mostly proportional reps) defy Chamisa, troop back to Parliament

By Veneranda Langa

MDC Alliance MPs who have been boycotting Parliament yesterday started trickling back to the House and were heckled by their Zanu PF counterparts, who jeered and labelled them MDC-T instead of MDC Alliance.

Nelson Chamisa
Nelson Chamisa

Fifteen opposition MPs, mostly proportional representation legislators, turned up and the most senior was Hatfield MP Tapiwa Mashakada, who later told journalists that they had not defected and were still MDC Alliance MPs as they were elected by the people.

But the party immediately shot down his claims, with secretary for presidential affairs Jameson Timba saying only the national council, which sits today, would make a resolution on whether to attend Parliament business or not.

“We met as MDC Alliance and made a resolution that we were elected by the people and, therefore, must come back to occupy our democratic space because our boycott was temporary after the recall of our four MPs Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), Tabitha Khumalo (leader of the opposition in the National Assembly), Prosper Mutseyami (chief whip in National Assembly), and chief whip in Senate Lillian Timveous,” Mashakada told journalists.

“I am still MDC Alliance secretary for policy and research and we are not in defiance of any directive. We have MPs that own businesses and they are just back to discharge their mandate.”

Timba said the MDC Alliance would today decide on the way forward regarding their disengagement from Parliament, with the national council, the highest decision making body outside congress, set to meet today for deliberations.

He said that after a standing committee meeting held at the party headquarters, Morgan Tsvangirai House yesterday.

“Remember, we said we will consult the people on the way forward and the national council is meeting tomorrow to decide on that,” Timba said.

Earlier before Parliament, Mashakada issued a statement urging his party to respect the Supreme Court ruling that dethroned party leader Nelson Chamisa.

“In view of the court shenanigans, I recommend that the MDC Alliance MPs go back to Parliament and be fired one by one,”he said.

“The public response will be different if MPs boycott Parliament at the behest of a directive from the party. I am sure the reaction of the international community and the voters to a recall as opposed to a self-censored and unilateral withdrawal of MDC Alliance MPs and councillors will also be different.”

In the House, the MDC Alliance MPs that contributed to debate were heckled by Zanu PF legislators.

Joyce Makonya (MDC Alliance PR) raised a matter of privilege where she thanked President Emmerson Mnangagwa for introducing Zupco buses, saying more should be brought in and sanitised to prevent the coronavirus.

Makonya, however, is one of the opposition MPs that defected to MDC-T.

Nkayi South MP Stars Mathe (Zanu PF) then stood up to say that during the MDC Alliance boycott, Parliament was “sane” with no disagreements.

“We would like to thank Makonya for saying that ED (Mnangagwa) did well to introduce Zupco,” Mathe said mocking Makonya.

The ruling party MPs also had a field day with Southerton MP Peter Moyo, who stood up to raise a matter of privilege saying that Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe must bring a ministerial statement on beatings and abductions of opposition supporters.

Zanu PF MPs shouted that he was getting lost and should “go back to Nelson Chamisa (MDC Alliance leader) and his name should be included on the recall list” by the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T.

Mliswa then suggested that the opposition must choose a chief whip and leader of the opposition since those that occupied the posts were fired by the MDC-T. NewsDay

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