OPPOSITION MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende yesterday claimed that opposition supporters in different parts of the country were already mobilising to reject MPs nominated by the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe to replace 15 recalled MDC Alliance proportional representation MPs.
This comes as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) last week notified in terms of section 39 (6) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) that the MDC-T led by Khupe had nominated people to fill in the party list of proportional representation MPs from the MDC Alliance who were recalled from the National Assembly and Senate.
About 22 MDC Alliance MPs were recalled by the MDC-T from Parliament after the Supreme Court adjudged that Khupe was the legitimate interim leader of the MDC-T.
Since the court ruling, Khupe has recalled MPs affiliated to the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa and even taken over the MDC headquarters.
Hwende described Zec’s move to allow Khupe to replace MDC Alliance MPs with her party members as a continuation of subversion of the people’s will.
“It is the same as what happened in 2018 when a man that lost Presidential elections was sworn in as President. What is happening now is that Zanu-PF is using Zec in stealing seats from MDC Alliance and giving them to the MDC-T,” Hwende said.
“We are not surprised, they can do what they want, but we will not betray the people’s struggle. They took away the rights of people who woke up at 4am to go and cast their votes,” he said.
Zec, in its letter to Hwende, before gazetting the vacancies and accepting Khupe and her team as potentially legal replacements for the recalls, pledged to abide by the law.
“Please be advised that ZEC operates within the confines of the Electoral law in particular the Electoral Act section 39(4),” wrote chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana.
A legal opinion commissioned and released by Election Resource Centre, an elections watchdog, said only the MDC Alliance was competent to fill the positions left vacant owing to the recalls.
However, the Electoral Act also allows voters to object to the nominations.
The statement by ZEC further states that: “Any voter wishing to object to the nominations of the members may lodge them in writing with the chief elections officer, at Mahachi Quantum Building, corner Kaguvi Street and Jason Moyo Avenue, Harare or post them to Private Bag 7782, Causeway within a period of 14 days from the date of publication of this notice, setting forth the reason(s) for the objection(s).”
Hwende said people were already mobilising to reject the MPs that Khupe wants to second to Parliament.
“I am here in Kuwadzana doing projects and residents are already signing their objections to imposition of MPs by ZEC and Khupe.
“A number of people will challenge this move throughout the country, but we also know that dictators do not respect the Constitution and will do anything to subvert the people’s vote,” Hwende said.
Last week, different residents associations called for the rejection of recall of councillors and MPs, saying voters’ choices could not be subverted by political parties’ interests.
The list that Khupe seconded to Zec included her name as MP, her spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni as senator and some former MPs that include Lwazi Sibanda, Nomalanga Khumalo, Piniel Denga, and Teti Chisorochengwe.
Other nominees are Yvonne Musarurwa, Lindani Moyo, January Sawuke, Memory Munochinzwa, Sipho Makone, Dorothy Ndlovu, Tamani Moyo and Gertrude Moyo.
Khupe was rejected by Zimbabweans in 2018 elections. She performed dismally in the presidential election in which she polled 45 000 votes only. Her party, MDC-T, failed to win even a single local government seat.