The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Nelson Chamisa has recalled former Deputy Prime Minister and MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe from parliament, claiming that she is no longer a member of the opposition party.
But a furious Khupe says she has hired an attorney to challenge the move, noting that her MDC-T faction is the authentic party and not the Chamisa group.
Acting Speaker of the House of Assembly, Reuben Marumahoko, told parliament that they received a letter from the Chamisa-led MDC-T indicating that they have cut ties with Khupe and as a result they will inform the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission about the party’s decision to recall Khupe.
Khupe is accused of running away with the party name soon after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai, who succumbed to cancer of the colon in February this year.
Khupe said her expulsion is null and void. “I’m really surprised how parliament operates and how the law operates. I wrote to the Speaker of Parliament earlier on indicating that as the MDC-T we had a leadership dispute and that the Speaker of Parliament should not entertain anything from the feuding parties because we are yet to resolve the leadership dispute.”
She said the MDC-T formation led by Chamisa did not follow the party’s constitution in choosing him to succeed the late Morgan Tsvangirai, who succumbed to cancer of the colon in February this year.
As a result, Khupe claimed that she is the acting president of the party and has already called for an Extra Ordinary Congress to choose a substantive leader of the MDC-T.
She further noted that she has hired an attorney to challenge her recalling from the parliament.
“This means that parliament has decided to choose which MDC-T is in their favour … We are saying we are the legitimate MDC which was formed in 1999 and we remain so.”
Khupe claimed that parliament has not yet informed her formally about her removal from the House of Assembly where she is the leader of the opposition.
“What happened is that I heard about it and then I called the Clerk of Parliament to find out what was happening because the Clerk of Parliament is in possession of a letter that I wrote to parliament indicating that there was a leadership dispute and I was asking him why they proceeded with the recall when in fact I had written to them telling them about the leadership dispute.”
But MDC-T acting spokesperson, Thabitha Khumalo, said, “We are following a resolution that was made by the National Council which is the top decision-making body outside Congresses that gives instructions to the implementing organ which is the Standing Committee.”
Reacting to Khupe’s remarks that she was the first to inform parliament about the leadership crisis in the MDC-T, Khumalo said, “… She sent the letter (to parliament) as an individual. The letter that was sent (to parliament) recalling her was sent by the MDC-T party led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa implementing the National Council resolution.
“The resolution was she left our party … She is no longer a member of the MDC-T so she must be recalled from parliament.”
According to Section 129 Subsection 1(k) of the Zimbabwe Constitution, the seat of a lawmaker becomes vacant “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 or the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the Member has ceased to belong to it.