MUTARE Central Member of the House of Assembly, Mr Innocent Gonese, has torched a storm in the troubled opposition party following his resignation from the Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, with some members in the provincial structures calling for his ouster.
Mr Gonese’s resignation paved way for MDC-T president, Senator Douglas Mwonzora, to be a member of this important Parliament management committee.
The Standing Rules and Orders Committee sets the policies and management of Parliament and has a little over 20 members drawn from both houses.
The committee comprises the Speaker of the National Assembly (chairperson), President of the Senate (deputy chairperson), Deputy Speaker, Deputy President of the Senate, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and two other ministers appointed by the President, the Leader of Government Business, the Leader of the Opposition, chief whips of all parties represented in Parliament, the President of the National Council of Chiefs, eight members elected by Parliament — four from each House, and two members appointed by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of the Senate.
Some members of the party viewed the move as way of saving himself (Mr Gonese) from being recalled from the August House.
However, in a telephone interview, Mr Gonese said his resignation was only informed by the need to ‘take a break’.
“I just felt I needed to take a break and this had nothing to do with paving way for anyone. The party does not refuse anyone the right to resign from any post in Parliament if one feels they cannot serve in that capacity anymore.
“In fact, everyone in the party is very clear on those developments and it is not an issue, even in the upper echelons of the party. It is just that I felt I needed to take a break, that is all,” said Mr Gonese.
MDC Alliance’s national deputy spokesperson, Mr Clifford Hlatshayo, referred all questions to the provincial executive, ironically saying he is not privy to the matter.
The Mr Nelson Chamisa-led opposition party’s Manicaland spokesperson, Mr David Panganai, confirmed that Mr Gonese’s resignation did not go down well with their membership.
“The long and short of it all is that Mr Gonese resigned from the top parliamentary committee without the knowledge of the party. This raised a lot of eyebrows and some sections within the party are not happy and suspect that this could have been done for selfish reasons.
“It is unfortunate that as the lower echelons of the party, we cannot discuss disciplinary issues of senior members as Mr Gonese is a national executive member. You may get finer detail from the national spokesperson,” said Mr Panganai.
The Chamisa led MDC Alliance appears to be at war with itself.
Recently, the party booted out Mutare councillors, Ms Elizabeth Tsoro (Ward Two) and Ms Tsitsi Ziweya (Ward Three) after an investigation team unanimously agreed that the duo voted for an MDC-T candidate during the recent elections for Mutare’s deputy mayor.
The election saw Councillor Farai Bhiza (MDC-T) defeating Councillor Simon Chabuka (MDC Alliance) by seven votes against five.
The elections were held to replace former deputy mayor, Mr Kudakwashe Chisango, who was part of the seven councillors recalled by the MDC-T in December last year. – Manica Post