In a letter yesterday, Clerk of Parliament Kenneth Chokuda said the MDC Alliance MPs had ceased to be part of the House following their recall by MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe, hence the decision to withdraw their diplomatic passports.
One of the recalled MPs, Chalton Hwende, who is also the MDC Alliance secretary-general, however, said they were not moved by the decision as they were not in office for self-enrichment or for luxurious perks, but to serve.
“The problem with ED (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) and his group is that they don’t understand us as MDC members. We are not driven by money, cars or diplomatic passports. We are driven by the desire to ensure that our people get a better life,” Hwende said.
The letter from Parliament read in part: “As you may be aware, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa gracefully extended the facility to all Members of Parliament to hold diplomatic passports in September 2019. You may recall, conditions for use of the document were linked to the tenure of the current Parliament inclusive of your being a serving Member of Parliament of Zimbabwe.”
Parliament ordered the MPs to “immediately submit the passports to the Registrar-General’s Office” for them to get back their ordinary passports.
The diplomatic passports gave MPs access to VIP lounges at international airports.
The 22 MDC Alliance MPs were recalled by Khupe after she took charge of the opposition courtesy of a Supreme Court judgment in March that nullified the appointment of Chamisa by the late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as party vice-president.
The Supreme Court judgment was interpreted to mean the MDC-T reverts to its 2014 structures with Khupe in charge until the extraordinary congress that was set for July 31.
However, the extraordinary congress is yet to be held and haggling has already started in the party with Khupe on one hand and interim secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora on the other fighting for the presidency.
Chamisa has accused Mnangagwa of using the COVID-19 national lockdown restrictions to decimate the MDC Alliance after the opposition refused to recognise his 2018 victory.
Khupe allies have accused Mwonzora of “unbridled ambition” and being tribal while the acting party spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni was recently involved in a near fist-fight with Mwonzora during a standing committee meeting in Harare.
The MDC-T has been brutal in recalling elected officials from the Chamisa camp and has cascaded its crusade to councillors in a move that saw the recalling of Harare mayor Herbert Gomba and five others.