MDC leader Thokozani Khupe scored another victory in the ongoing battle for the party after Parliament allowed her to choose a new National Assembly chief whip ahead of bitter rival Nelson Chamisa.
This comes as Khupe and Chamisa have opened a new battlefront in their incessant fights following their appointment of different chief whips in Parliament a fortnight ago.
The senseless fights erupted after the death of the MDC’s founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February 2018.
The Supreme Court’s March judgment which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court nullifying Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the party added fuel to the fire. However, buoyed by a series of court victories, including the recent High Court ruling that pronounced her as the legitimate occupant of the MDC’s highly symbolic Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House headquarters, Khupe took her battle to Parliament where she has so far recalled 21 legislators.
On Wednesday, deputy National Assembly Speaker Tsitsi Gezi announced that Khupe had notified Parliament that Paurina Mpariwa was the new opposition chief whip, replacing Prosper Mutseyami.
“I have to announce to the House that I have received notification from the MDC-T party that … Paurina Mpariwa has been appointed as the new chief whip to replace honourable Prosper Mutseyami who was recalled,” Gezi said.
The elevation of Mpariwa came despite Chamisa having also notified Parliament that he had appointed Highfield East MP, Eric Murai as Mutseyami’s replacement.
This was after MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende formerly wrote to National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda a fortnight ago to inform him of new appointments the party had made.
“Please be advised that our party, the MDC Alliance has appointed the following members as the party leadership in Parliament … Lynette Karenyi-Kore (acting leader of opposition in Parliament), Hon Eric Murai (Acting Chief Whip; Lower House), Hon Jasmine Toffa (Acting Deputy Chief Whip: Lower House),” Hwende said.
Before the recalls by Khupe, Mutseyami was deputised by Nomathemba Ndlovu (proportional representation).
In the Senate, the chief whip was Lilian Timveos (Midlands) with Herbert Sinampande (Matabeleland North) as her deputy. Both of them have been recalled after MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora wrote to the august House indicating that they had ceased representing the party’s interests pursuant to Section 129 (k) of the Constitution.
Recently, Khupe recalled eight more senators – Meliwe Phuthi (Matabeleland South) Helen Zivira (Bulawayo), Siphiwe Ncube (Bulawayo), Phyllis Ndlovu (Matabeleland North), Keresencia Chabuka (Manicaland), Herbert Sinamupande (Matabeleland North) Gideon Shoko (Bulawayo) and Tapfumaneyi Wunganayi (Mashonaland East).
This had been preceded by the recall of nine members of the National Assembly including Amos Chibaya (Mkoba), Murisi Zwizwai (Harare Central) and Happymore Chidziva (Highfield West).
Others are Proportionate Representatives Bacilia Majaya, Macharairwa Mugidho, Virginia Muradzikwa, Annah Myambo, Francisca Ncube and Nomathemba Ndlovu.