Mwonzora Defends MDC-T MPs For Supporting Second Amendment Bill

Douglas Mwonzora

MDC-T President Douglas Mwonzora has defended lawmakers from his party who Tuesday joined Zanu PF MPs to vote for the Second Bill to amend the Constitution.

The Bill now waits transmission to Senate.

Some of the provisions in the Bill include the removal of a clause on running mates, extension of the women’s quota, extension of the 70-year retirement cap for judges by another five years and giving impetus to Government’s devolution agenda.

However, the MDC-T MPs have been roundly condemned for supporting the controversial Bill.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday at the MDC-T headquarters, Harvest House also known as the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, Mwonzora said the opposition MPs were “in a dilemma” as most of the amendments in the Bill are in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe.

“At the stage that the Bill was, it had to be voted for as a whole. In other words, it was not divisible. So the choices that faced each individual MP was a choice between rejecting everything in the Bill and also in the process rejecting the women’s quota, the youth quota, devolution and the quota of women in council or accepting the entire bill and also in the process accept the running mate clause and the judges’ clause,” Mwonzora said.

“It was a genuine dilemma that our MPs were faced with and, therefore, they voted using their conscience.

“Those who voted Yes were voting for the women’s quota, the youth quota, the quota of women in council and devolution. Those who voted No from our camp were voting no to the running mate and the judges’ clause. We think their behavior was reasonable.”

MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khupe was part of 22 opposition MPs who voted against the amendments.

According to Khupe’s spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni, she was disappointed MDC-T MPs had been coerced by Mwonzora to vote in favour of the contentious Bill.

All members of main opposition party, the MDC Alliance voted against the amendments.

However, Mwonzora disputed accusations he coerced the opposition MPs to vote in support of the Bill.

“I was not in the National Assembly. I did not vote in the National Assembly; I did not influence the vote in the National Assembly. I will interrogate what Senator Phugeni meant when I meet him and Dr. Khupe when I meet her. Senator Phugeni does not sit in the National Assembly and I was with him in Senate as the votes were being cast.”