ZIMBABWE – In what may be the biggest ‘election heist’ in the country’s history, MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe has found her way back into Parliament despite losing dismally in the last election.
This was confirmed through a public notice from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) with the list of names that have been supposedly nominated to replace the recalled MDC-Alliance legislators.
Khupe’s name topped the list.
“It is hereby notified, in terms of section 39(7)(a) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13], that persons listed in the Schedule nominated by the MDC-T party to fill to fill the vacancies that occurred among the party-list members of the National Assembly and the Senate following the recall of the incumbent members by the MDC-T party on the grounds that they had ceased to be members of that party, have been appointed as National Assembly party-list members and Senators respectively with effect from the date of publication of this notice.”
Khupe boycotted the MDC-Alliance formation after an internal leadership struggle with Nelson Chamisa who emerged top.
She went on to contest in the 2018 harmonised elections as the leader of a separate political party which dismally performed and while she managed to secure only 45 000 votes in the Presidential election.
Chamisa on the other hand leading the MDC-Alliance secured over 2.2 million votes, and scooped a significant number of members of parliament while dominating the urban councils.
However, in a twist of events Khupe with some disgruntled individuals who include Douglas Mwonzora and Morgan Komichi formed an “alliance” and took to the courts to claim leadership of the MDC-Alliance.
The Courts granted them the interim leadership ordering the party to go back to the 2014 structures and also hold a special congress.
With the help of the courts and security forces, Khupe stormed the party’s headquarters in June and occupied the building.
They (Khupe and allies) have since used this court order to embark on a massive purge of the MDC-Alliance with 31 MPs falling victim so far despite not complying with the order to hold the congress within a stipulated time frame.
The latest recall was on Thursday 1 October which resulted in 10 MPs recalled. On Friday, VP Chiwenga as Health minister suspended the holding of any by-elections indefinitely citing the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason.
This suspension will definitely be a blow to the Nelson Chamisa led party which was already making inroads to reclaim all the vacant seats of their recalled members.
Political analysts have claimed this is a ploy by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu-Pf party to destroy the vibrant opposition party and replace it with a very weak one thus effectively establishing a one party state.
MDC-Alliance has called the suspension of these by-elections a threat to democracy.
In a statement the party said, “the suspension of by-elections is a vicious assault on the will of people and the greatest threat to our democracy in as many decades. This is fascism. Democracy is dead. The people must fight back and will fight to defend their votes.”
The Nelson Chamisa led party has maintained the recalls are illegal and vowed to continue to fight.