MDC-T Succession battles: Speaker caught-up in MDC feud

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SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has rejected claims of bias towards the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC-T made by axed Bulawayo legislator Thokozani Khupe who was last week recalled from the house at the behest of her rivals.

Mudenda insisted that the legislative body acted within its constitutional obligations to dislodge the Bulawayo legislator.

“Parliament doesn’t expel any Member of Parliament. Go to Section 129 of the Constitution,” said the Speaker.

The Section referred to outlines cases in which a sitting MP can cease to be a legislator.

Among these, the seat of a member of Parliament becomes vacant, among other reasons, “(k) if the Member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker of parliament or the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the Member has ceased to belong to it…”

Asked how parliament found it appropriate to heed the recall order by Chamisa, Mudenda insisted parliament was right but refused to state the reasons.

“Go to Section 129 of the constitution; you will be guided by the Constitution…you will appreciate the role of parliament,” Mudenda said, adding that, the only person who could explain Khupe’s membership status to the house was Chamisa.

Both Khupe and Chamisa were MDC-T party co-Vice Presidents before the death in February this year of founding party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Chamisa has since muscled his way to the helm of the main opposition with support from loyalists opposed to Khupe’s demands for an extra-ordinary congress to resolve the party’s explosive leadership question.

Meanwhile, Khupe, backed by a handful of backers, has also declared herself legitimate party leader and called for an MDC-T elective congress within her faction.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has also, somewhat, acknowledged her claims to be MDC-T leader and written to the Chamisa-led faction urging it to resolve the matter as it could affect the party’s election plans.

Apart from party processes dismissing Khupe by the Chamisa led MDC, the MDC-T leadership impasse has never been tested within courts of law, leaving the former deputy Prime Minister livid over parliament’s pre-emptive decision to dislodge her.

Khupe insists that she is still a member of MDC-T apart from a decision to expel her by her rivals.

She has also thrown the proverbial cat among the pigeons by writing to parliament seeking the recall of Chamisa. – News Zim