NELSON Chamisa’s MDC Alliance has vowed to block Thokozani Khupe and her party from replacing proportional representation (PR) legislators and senators recalled by the MDC-T from Parliament over the past month as the battleground shifts to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
This followed the MDC-T’s recall yesterday of four councillors from Harare City Council in a bid to chip away at Chamisa’s support in the opposition party.
Denford Ngadziore, Grisot Mandere, Jaison Kautsa and Tonderai Chakeredza received their marching orders from Local Government minister July Moyo in a letter dated June 26 delivered to them yesterday.
MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende said the party was waiting for Zec to declare the vacancies so that it moves to stop Khupe and her team from usurping the mandate of the people.
“The battle is far from over, we won’t let the mandate of the people be hijacked. The process of replacing the senators and PR MPs is not that simple. First there has to be a gazette, then nominations, which are then opened to objections. We will object at every turn if the proper procedures are not followed,” he said.
The MDC Alliance said Zec knew that they registered the party for election purposes and
was further aware that it was the MDC-T that recalled legislators from Parliament, yet only Chamisa’s party could replace those MPs.
“We want to see who they will invite to fill the vacancies because Zec knows that MDC-T only has two legislators and they can’t replace MPs on behalf of the MDC Alliance, so it is on that basis that we will block Khupe and her cabal,” he said.
Zec, in its process to replace recalled senators and PR legislators, allows for objections to be made by voters and the political party involved.
“Notify the public of the nomination to fill the vacancy in the Gazette … afford any person who is a voter to lodge any written objection (together with reasons for the objection) to nominate within a specified time from the date of the publication,” part of Zec’s procedures in replacing senators and PR MPs states.
MDC-T said it would replace those recalled at the right time and would not be stopped by Chamisa or any of his members.
“We have not yet replaced those who were recalled because we are waiting for processes by Zec, we will replace them within that context when the time is ready. There is a Supreme Court ruling and it’s very clear who is in charge,” MDC-T deputy spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni said.
Moyo, in a letter addressed to town clerk Hosea Chisango, wrote: “I wish to inform you that I am in receipt of a letter from the Movement for Democratic Change stating that Cllr Ngadziore ward 16, Cllr Grisot Mandere ward 44, Cllr Jaison Kautsa ward 37 and Cllr Tonderai Chakeredza ward 31 have been expelled from that party.”
He said following the expulsion of the four councillors from their party, they were no longer councillors and, therefore, vacancies be declared in their wards.
“In terms of section 278(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as read with section 129(1)(k), ward 16, ward 44, ward 37 and ward 31 of Harare City Council are now vacant,” the minister wrote.
Khupe, who is hoping to rope Ian Makone into her corner, spared him from recall even though he was appointed secretary of elections in Chamisa’s standing committee and also signed an affidavit declaring the MDC Alliance the legitimate occupants of the party headquarters, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House.
Ngadziore said he was not moved by the recall and would continue to serve his ward even outside chambers as his party continues to search for a response to Khupe’s assault.
“You voted for me as your councillor under the MDC Alliance, yet I am being recalled by MDC-T and one Douglas Mwonzora. This did not come as a surprise to me and I am not regretting as you are the ones who gave me the mandate through the MDC Alliance. I will continue providing necessary leadership at community level until such a time we meet again,” he wrote to his ward.