DIVISIONS rocking the MDC Alliance played out in the open yesterday when allies of party leader Mr Nelson Chamisa confronted vice president Engineer Elias Mudzuri, scolding him in public for having attended a parliamentary function at State House.
Eng Mudzuri is said to be angling to challenge Mr Chamisa for the presidency at the party’s congress set for next year, reviving his earlier shots at the position which were pronounced when former party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was still on his death bed.
Eng Mudzuri is the leader of opposition in the Senate and a member of the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC).
The meeting at State House was meant to fulfill parliamentary procedures which require that National Assembly and Senate presiding officers present themselves to the President on assuming their duties.
The provisions are covered by Standing Rule and Order Number 11.
Eng Mudzuri was properly at the meeting with President Mnangagwa, considering that the positions he holds in Parliament qualify him as a presiding officer.
Other opposition officials, namely Ms Tabitha Khumalo (leader of opposition in the
National Assembly) and Mr Prosper Mutseyami (Chief Whip) boycotted the presentation ceremony.
Immediately after attending the meeting, Eng Mudzuri – who has been entangled in factional fights with MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa – was confronted by his president’s allies who sought answers on why he was at State House.
In a video that went viral yesterday, MDC Alliance National Assembly members Messrs Charlton Hwende (Kuwadzana East) and Murisi Zwizwai (Harare Central) led opposition legislators who confronted Eng Mudzuri at a Harare hotel and shouted at him.
Surprisingly, the legislators were at the hotel on parliamentary business, taking part in post-budget consultations.
“Ikozvino vanhu vakadzingwa nemapurisa nenyaya yaMnangagwa,” Mr Zwizwai is heard saying in reference to MDC Alliance legislators who were ejected in Parliament last week for rowdy behaviour.
“Iko zvino maenda kuState House, madii kufonera vamwe vanhu vese? Madii kutarisa kuona kuti hapana kana one wangu ari panapa?”
Mr Hwende weighed in: “One munhu weMDC, vana chief whip vese havana kuenda. Hana yenyu yanga isingarove muri one kuState House kwacho?”
Opposition legislators last week refused to acknowledge President Mnangagwa when he entered the National Assembly chamber last week for the national budget presentation, leading to their ejection from the House for disregarding parliamentary protocol.
Mr Hwende chairs the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICT, and observers said he should be well-versed with parliamentary business because of that post.
In an interview, Eng Mudzuri said he attended the event to fulfil his parliamentary duties.
He accused Mr Zwizwai and company of making “theatrical accusations.”
“It’s just being disrespectful of a senior person,” said Eng Mudzuri. “I went in my responsibility as a member of the SROC and we have been attending SROC meetings in Bulawayo where we agreed that we should have a selected number of people who engage the President regularly.
“These guys are just interested in waylaying people for nothing. This is disrespect of the highest order and I think whoever thinks you can separate our responsibilities in Parliament and central Government is being naïve.
“How do we work? Budget has to be passed by the same person (President Mnangagwa) and the person doing the budget is also appointed by the President. Hondo yacho inopera kupi?”
He went on: “They are being childish because I can’t be attacked in public by juniors. If there is anything to worry about, they should ask the president to talk to me unless they are having private meetings. I can assure you that anyone who reasons will not find their argument in order.
“I want a situation where we take parliamentary business seriously. In any case, I was happy the President indicated that we have to look at electoral laws and the next election date is announced by the same person you don’t want to engage.”
By late yesterday, those fighting in Mr Chamisa’s corner were calling for the expulsion of Eng Mudzuri from the party.
Eng Mudzuri and Mr Douglas Mwonzora are being accused of positioning themselves to challenge Mr Chamisa for the presidency at the party’s congress due early next year.