MDC-T’s newly elected president, Mr Douglas Mwonzora, is set to assume the role of Leader of Opposition in Parliament and is expected to make changes to the structures controlled by the opposition in the August House.
The assumption of the new role by Mr Mwonzora, who is also a Senator, followed an extraordinary congress of the MDC-T which saw him trounce then acting president, Dr Thokozani Khupe, Messrs Elias Mudzuri and Morgan Komichi, in a hotly disputed election.
Sources in the MDC-T said Mr Mwonzora is set to take up the new role once Parliament resumes sitting next month.
He is expected to appoint a new Chief Whip to replace Ms Paurina Mpariwa, who has been promoted to become secretary general of the MDC-T and also reconstitute members of the MDC-T who sit in the Parliament Standing Rules and Orders Committee, the August House’s supreme decision making organ chaired by Speaker of the
Other changes will be chairpersons of Portfolio and Thematic committees, Parliamentary Legal Committee, among others.
“Ms Mpariwa is set to relinquish her post as Chief Whip. You cannot have a whole secretary general running around among MPs. She is set for bigger things like taking up membership of regional and international bodies such as Sadc PF, Pan African Parliament, International Parliamentary Union,” said a source.
When contacted for comment, Mr Mwonzora played down the issue.
“We do not intend to make unnecessary changes that humiliate other people but we will try to have a Parliament party caucus that is strong, effective and efficient. When Parliament opens, I intend to take my two Vice Presidents Madam Khupe and Eng Mudzuri to have a discussion with Speaker of the National Assembly Adv Mudenda, who is Head of Parliament and will then make necessary announcements should the need arise,” said Mr Mwonzora.
“I will also be liaising with our Secretary for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Anele Ndebele, other leaders, Chief Whip and deputy presidents, we will then make necessary announcements should that need arise.”
Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi declined to comment substantively on the goings on in the MDC-T.
“As Government we do not comment on what happens in individual political parties and how they run their business. It is our expectation however, that the leader of opposition plays his role in Parliament as provided for by the Constitution and Standing Orders, otherwise why would a leader delegate when he is there,” said Minister Ziyambi.
Prior to the extraordinary congress, Dr Khupe was the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
The Leader of the Opposition is the principal leader of the minority caucus responsible for developing the minority position, negotiating with the majority party, directing minority caucus activities on the Chamber floor and leading debate for the minority.