25 May 2014

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Still Wants Rebel MPs Expelled

Photo: Tendai Biti Facebook page
Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti is among MPs facing the chop from parliament.

THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction says it is going ahead with plans to force the expulsion of rebel legislators who broke ranks weeks ago to join forces with party secretary general Tendai Biti who wants internal leadership renewal.

Party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora on Sunday that his party would deal with the issue without going to the courts as advised by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda who says he has nothing to do with the troubled opposition's internal fights.

"The MDC-T will soon recall all its MPs who have joined the renewal project and this will be done straight from Harvest House in Harare.

"The party has the powers to recall the legislators, therefore we won't have to do it through the courts," said Mwonzora.

He could not say when this would be done but claimed Mudenda wrote a letter to his party indicating that he could only recall the MPs if the Tsvangirai-led faction gives him the names of the concerned legislators.

Mwonzora said Biti's camp had ceased to be members of the MDC and tried to down play the impact of the impasse which analysts say has weakened the once vibrant party.

Renewal team spokesperson, Jacob Mafume scoffed at Mwonzora's statements.

"Mwonzora is lying to the nation and we're only going to ignore him. This issue can only be dealt with by the courts.

"The clause he's relying on refers to MPs who have crossed the floor. He's just trying to blow a concrete building with hot air," said Mafume.

Since Biti led a group of dissenters out to pursue their political ambitions to as the Renewal Team, the two factions have both been claiming to be the genuine MDC party.

They have since held meetings that have either "suspended" or fired certain members of the opposite faction.

On his part, Tsvangirai has "expelled" Biti, deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and nine other legislators; namely: Solomon Madzore (Dzivaresekwa), Paul Madzore (Glen View South), Moses Manyengavana (Highfield West),Willas Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (Lobengula), Bekithemba Nyathi (Pelandaba Mpopoma), Evelyn Masaiti (Proportional representation), Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo), Reggie Moyo (Luveve) and Watchy Sibanda (Senator, Matabeleland South).

Mudenda, in his initial response, said the fight between the two factions could only be settled in court.

He was responding to a letter from party vice-president Thokozani Khupe stating that legislators in Biti's camp had failed to protect the party's interests and should be recalled from Parliament.

However, Biti had authored a preemptive letter advising the Speaker to ignore any correspondence seeking the expulsion of the MPs from the House.

Under Zimbabwe's laws a party can recall an MP from Parliament for crossing the floor.

The MDC-T's Guardian Council, a group of party elders, chaired by Sekai Holland on Friday reprimanded the warring leaders factions and conceded that the party's existence was no longer guaranteed.

Holland said the party's warring camps have been acting unconstitutionally by claiming to have suspended each other's leaders.

She also said Tsvangirai's move to recall MPs and Senators from Parliament would worsen the confusion and instability in the beleaguered party.

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