SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda yesterday refused to be dragged into the MDC-T internal fights saying the National Assembly does not resolve intra-party conflicts.
Mudenda advised warring MDC-T factions — one led by embattled party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and another by axed party secretary-general — fighting over the recalling of MPs, to approach the courts for arbitration.
Mudenda said neither himself nor Senate president Edna Madzongwe had the authority to make a ruling over the threats to recall the MPs.
MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe on May 2 wrote to Mudenda seeking to recall some nine party MPs who were accused of siding with Biti’s faction.
The Biti faction is composed of party members seeking Tsvangirai’s ouster as party leader.
Khupe’s letter followed another written by Biti on April 28 seeking to protect the MPs from being recalled by Tsvangirai.
Khupe argued that she was the one vested with the sole authority to recall MDC-T MPs as their leader in Parliament.
The fallout between Tsvangirai and Biti started after MDC-T deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma was assaulted at the party’s Harvest House headquarters in Harare for calling for leadership renewal.
Mangoma was suspended eventually over his stance, a move Biti described as unconstitutional.
After failing to find common ground, Biti’s faction privately met in Harare on April 26 where they lifted Mangoma’s suspension and went on to suspend Tsvangirai, Khupe, party national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and his deputy Abedinico Bhebhe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo and his deputy Morgan Komichi and party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.
Yesterday, Mudenda said he had studied the correspondences from both Khupe and Biti and concluded that the letters “contained no legal issues that require the honourable president of the Senate or the honourable Speaker of the National Assembly to pursue or rule on whether or not to act pursuant to the provisions of section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
Mudenda added: “I have accordingly responded to the two letters from the Honourable Biti and the Honourable Khupe informing them according.”
Biti camp spokesperson Jacob Mafume yesterday said Parliament’s decision vindicated their position that Tsvangirai and “his lot” had no right to recall the MPs.
“If they think they are right, they should go to court,” Mafume said.
“We are now going to proceed with the tribunal to determine their cases. We have always said Tsvangirai has bush lawyers who do not understand the law.”
But MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Mudenda’s ruling showed that he had refused to endorse Biti’s interpretation of the law.
“The Speaker has not said in his ruling that the MDC-T has no right recalling it’s MPs,” he said.
“He has not endorsed Biti’s claim that he is the person who has the power to recall MDC-T MPs.
“For that reason the door has been kept open for the MDC-T to recall any MP who ceases to be its member. In the next few days the MDC is therefore going to formally communicate with the Speaker its decision to recall the concerned MPs.”