MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora yesterday pleaded with MDC Alliance MPs who have disengaged from Parliament in protest against the recall of four legislators by the his Thokozani Khupe-led faction to attend the august House and help fight COVID-19.
Mwonzora recalled three MPs and one senator — all party leaders — following a Supreme Court ruling in March which made Khupe the acting MDC-T president, ordering her to convene an extraordinary congress within three months under the party structures of 2014.
However, the MDC Alliance’s national standing committees resolved to snub all parliamentary activities in protest over the decision by Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda and Senate president Mabel Chinomona to obey Khupe’s orders to recall Charlton Hwende, Prosper Mutseyami, Lillian Timveous and Tabitha Khumalo.
Members of the MDC-T 2014 structures met on Thursday at Morgan Tsvangirai House and rubbished the Supreme Court ruling, accusing Khupe, Mwonzora and party national chairman Morgen Komichi of acting arbitrarily.
They invited the three to a meeting on June 6 to clarify the party’s next steps following the ruling.
The meeting also accused Khupe, Mwonzora and Komichi of advancing Zanu PF interests.
But reacting to the Thursday meeting, which looks set to turn the tables on his faction, Mwonzora pleaded with MPs not to disengage from Parliament during the COVID-19 crisis, describing such behaviour as reckless.
Mwonzora said the meeting was illegal as he and other leaders were not invited, adding that some of the people who attended were not part of the 2014 structures.
“They must be cognisant of the founding values of the party and to this end, we view the call by some of our colleagues within the party for MPs to disengage from Parliament as completely irresponsible and reckless,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is battling COVID-19 and Parliament, as an arm of the State, has roles to discharge.”
He said the MPs must be in the front in distribution of COVID-19 resources and supervise key government departments and ministries.
Mwonzora, who was flanked by Komichi and Elias Mudzuri, said MPs who continue to defy the party would be recalled.
He said the process of recalling would, however, be made on a “case by case” basis as some were being victimised and forced to support Chamisa.
“There has been speculation about further recalls of MPs. We should state here that we are not a vindictive leadership and we have no intentions of victimising anyone.
“However, we urge our MPs to recognise and discharge their obligations to their constituencies, in particular, and to the people of Zimbabwe, in general,” Mwonzora said
“In dealing with these MPs, we will look at their cases on a case by case basis by considering that there are some MPs doing unpardonable things, victimising people and some councillors involved in acts of violence and these will be looked at on a case by case basis.”
He claimed that the Thursday meeting was attended by 33 people members of the 2014 national council structures, not the 151 out of a possible 202 claimed by the MDC Alliance.
Mwonzora also said that the party congress, which had been set for July 31, could be moved to another date if the lockdown regulations remain in place.
“In view of the fact that holding the congress may be affected by the COVID-19 regulations, we may see the date of the congress being moved to another date. We will continue to work with health authorities to see how we can hold our congress without offending the regulations.”