With a vote looming Tuesday in the Zimbabwe Parliament for a new House Speaker following the ouster of Lovemore Moyo by a Supreme Court ruling, the Movement for Democrat Change formation led by Welshman Ncube has announced that it will not field a candidate for the post and its parliamentarians will abstain from voting.
The smaller MDC formation said it would not support the candidate of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF or that put forth by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, saying the two unity government parties had “ganged up” to prevent Ncube from replacing former party leader Arthur Mutambara as deputy prime minister.
Some lawmakers of the Ncube MDC wing said the decision to abstain had not been communicated to them, and discipline has been an issue for the party, so it remained possible that some parliamentarians of the MDC formation might cast ballots.
Party spokesman Nhlanhla Dube told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the formation does not care whether the parliament elects a ZANU-PF or a Tsvangirai MDC speaker.
ZANU-PF parliamentary whip Joram Gumbo cast doubt on the timing of the vote, saying his party has not been officially informed of a vacancy for Speaker.
He told VOA that his party will sit down to decide on a candidate after a vacancy has been formally announced in parliament. "We will only be able to decide on a candidate when we are notified officially of a vacancy by the clerk of parliament."
Tsvangirai MDC Chief Whip Innocent Gonese told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that his party hopes its candidate, Lovemore Moyo, the outgoing speaker, will garner sufficient support from across party lines to reclaim his former post.
Lawmaker Jonathan Moyo, a former information minister who was ejected from ZANU-PF several years ago for allegedly conspiring to block the appointment of Vice President Joyce Mujuru and claimed the House seat in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North as an independent in 2008 before returning to ZANU-PF, filed suit challenging Lovemore Moyo's election in 2008, eventually succeeding at the Supreme court level.
The court found that the speaker's election was procedurally flawed because lawmakers had shown their ballots to top officials of the Tsvangirai MDC formation.