OVER 30 000 voters have responded to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s call to send in objections to MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe’s intention to replace MPs she recalled with nominees of her choice.
This comes as Khupe has sent Zec names of 15 nominees to replace some of the 21 MPs she has recalled so far with the other six constituency legislators set to be replaced through by-elections.
Following the recalls, last week Zec invited voters with objections to the nominees to file them with the electoral commission.
Zec chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana confirmed that the electoral body had received the objections and was now in the process of verifying if they comply with the terms of the Electoral Act.
“We have received the volumes of objections, but as you might be aware, the closing date for their receipt was yesterday (Friday), so we have not gone through them as yet. We have to verify to see if they were submitted in terms of the electoral law. If they are valid, there is a provision to disqualify someone from occupying the seat,” Silaigwana said.
According to the Electoral Act, as soon as possible after the last day for the lodging of objections, if no objection to the party-list candidate has been received or, having considered every objection received, it finds that there are no valid grounds for objecting to the candidature, Zec must notify the public by notice in the Government Gazette that the person nominated to fill the vacancy has been appointed as a Senator or member of the National Assembly.
It provides that “having considered every objection received, and having found that there are valid grounds for objecting to the candidature, afford the political party concerned to make representations on the matter”.
“If, having considered any representations of the political party received in terms of subsection (7)(b), the Commission is still of the view that there are valid grounds for objecting to the candidature, the Commission shall proceed in accordance with subsection (4)(a), and subsections (5), (6) and (7) shall thereafter apply until a qualified person is identified to fill the vacancy concerned,” the Act reads.
Khupe had nominated herself to the National Assembly, while her spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni is set for the Senate.
Other names she presented to Zec as replacements include Yvonne Winfielda Musarurwa, Lindani Moyo, January Sawuke, Memory Munochinzwa, Lwazi Sibanda, Sipho Mokone, Molly Dorothy Ndlovu, Tamani Moyo, Gertrude Moyo, Piniel Denga, Chief Ndluvu, Nomalanga Khumalo and Teti Chisorochengwe.
This comes as MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa directed his party structures to mobilise voters to block the replacement of his MPs, arguing that they did not belong to Khupe’s MDC.
Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in a fierce tussle for control of the country’s main opposition party since the death of its founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in February 2018.
The senseless infighting went a notch up following the Supreme Court’s recent judgment which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court which nullified Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the party.
The court conferred the party leadership on Khupe and also directed that the MDC reverts to its 2014 structures and holds an extraordinary congress to elect Tsvangirai’s substantive successor.