Zimbabwe opposition to withdraw from Parliament

Nelson Chamisa

THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance’s national standing committee yesterday reportedly resolved to order its Members of Parliament to resign from the august House en-masse in protest over the recall of its four legislators by the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T.

The decision was taken by the party’s national executive committees in a virtual meeting held yesterday, a source close to the development said, but warned that a campaign was underway to entice the MPs to dump Chamisa in return for positions in a likely government of national unity (GNU).

After the meeting, Chamisa tweeted: “Just been chairing a long MDC Alliance National S Committee Zoom meeting. We came up with key resolutions and action points to be released by the party’s deputy national chairperson Hon Job Sikhala. Whatever the case, the die is cast! Victory and freedom to our motherland!”

But Sikhala, contacted for comment, said the party would address a Press conference today to announce its response to the recall.

On Tuesday, Douglas Mwonzora, who recently defected to Khupe’s camp, ordered the recall of Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), chief whip Prosper Mutseyami (Chikanga-Dangamvura MP) and Midlands senator Lillian Timveous, the leader of the opposition party in the Senate.

Mwonzora said he was using his mandate as the secretary-general of the party after a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the party to go back to its structures of 2014, endorsing Khupe as the acting president.

Yesterday morning, Mwonzora’s backers reportedly changed the lock at the entrance of the MDC headquarters to bar youths who man the premises from getting access to the building, which is now at the centre of his fight with Chamisa.

But Mwonzora denied sending youths to bar Chamisa’s staff from entering the building. He, however, said he would call in the police to help him take over the building.

“We many have to engage the police if need be,” said Mwonzora, who denied authoring a letter circulating on social media soliciting police support to take over the MDC-A headquarters.

In the letter addressed to Officer Commanding ZRP Harare District and dated April 28, Mwonzora allegedly said he needed police help because the Chamisa-led faction had youths armed with crude weapons ready to deny the party’s new leadership entry into the party premises.

He also wanted the police to “help us get entry into specific offices including the president, national chairman, secretary-general, organising secretary, and treasurer-general,” and “doing any other things that will help in the maintaining of law and order in the premises.”

Mwonzora also said they would engage the services of a locksmith to get entry into the building if there was no co-operation from the Chamisa camp.

“We will also appoint a small team to liaise with the police officers from time to time,” the letter concluded.

Political analyst Ibbo Mandanza yesterday said Chamisa was under pressure to avoid challenging the expulsion of four of his Members of Parliament and instead recall all the remaining legislators and councillors so that he can face Zanu-PF head-on in a political fight.

Mandaza said it was time for Chamisa to face the beast in the eye and take on President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF in a political duel, instead of continually accepting to being bullied.

“These are kicks of a dying regime and if Chamisa is serious, it is time to face off with the regime,” Mandaza said.

“Isn’t this opportunity in Zimbabwe to cease being complaint and obliging and thereby deal a deadly blow to the crumbling edifice?”

Insiders said Chamisa was now between a hard place and a rock with headliners calling for street protests and withdrawal of all MDC Alliance-elected officers instead of approaching the courts.

“The verdict of the courts are predetermined and will embarrass Chamisa. A political resolution is needed. This cozing with the law is not helpful,” said a highly-placed source.

However, lawyer and political analyst Alex Magaisa said the chaos in the opposition party was being orchestrated by the ruling Zanu-PF party to force through a government of national unity with an acquiesced opposition.

“The regime wants a GNU with a weak and submissive opposition it can control,” he opined on his Twitter handle. They can tell the world that they are now working with the MDC. The regime identified a weak seam in the opposition a coterie of the disgruntled keen to join the gravy train. They want to amend the law in order to get rid of by-elections.” The GNU agreement would include a constitutional amendment to avoid elections for seven years on the grounds of focusing on the economy, he said, with some civil society members and churches included in the arrangement to make it look inclusive.

The seats held by MDC Alliance MPs who were recalled would be awarded to Khupe’s party to eliminate the risk of losing at the polls, he said.

“There will be a concurrent campaign to discredit Chamisa and his colleagues in the MDC Alliance, including (vice-presidents) Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube. Current MPs are already being offered trinkets and receiving threats in a carrot and stick strategy,” Magaisa, a former advisor to the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said.

“The plan is to crush the head of the MDC Alliance with the help of opposition enablers. However, stealing opposition seats is one thing. Winning the hearts and minds of opposition supporters is a different proposition.

“But none of this will confer legitimacy on the regime. Manipulating political institutions and rearranging the deck chairs of the struggling ship is one thing. Saving it requires a lot more than that. The international community, whose support the regime is desperate for can see through these hideous political machinations.

“None of the opposition characters that the regime has courted has the political capital to provide the respect and recognition that (the regime is) desperate for in the international community. They know it but they will be very happy to join the feeding trough.”

Source – newsday