Former Zanu PF cabinet minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, says the recalling of MDC Alliance legislators and councillors is a blatant violation of the country`s constitution as it robs the citizens the right to vote for a candidate of their choice.
Prof Moyo argued that the right to vote was the most fundamental right for citizens and if they failed to defend that right, they would be unable to protect other civil liberties.
The MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe has been recalling MDC Alliance legislators after a Supreme Court ruling in April that declared appointments of Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as vice presidents of MDC-T by the late Morgan Tsvangirai as unconstitutional and invalid.
Khupe has so far recalled over 20 MPs from Parliament.
Delivering a lecture titled, “Unpacking the Zimbabwean crisis” on CITE’s Facebook platform Wednesday, Prof Moyo said the recalling MPs was fundamentally flawed as it took away voters’ constitutional powers to elect an individual of their choice.
“People vote thinking what an MP will do for them, in fact they never vote thinking what the political party of that MP will do for them. This is why voting is by secret ballot, where it’s free from party dictates. So such a constitutionally entrenched right such as the right to vote cannot be subject to party choice or affiliation,” he said, noting that recalling MPs who were voted into office was “one of the biggest threats that you can imagine against democracy.”
The former cabinet minister said the recall of MDC Alliance MPs amounted to taking away people’s vote, which he said was worse than what the colonialists did before independence.
“Shockingly the recall is done by people who claim to be part of the movement for democracy, working, colluding, conspiring with people who claim to have gone to the bush to fight for the people for the right to vote. Now when you have liberators and democrats taking away the right to vote all hell should break loose,” he said.
Prof Moyo also questioned why the recall was only viewed as an MDC Alliance problem.
“You hear people debating other stuff, ‘let us have a Government of National Unity (GNU), a National Transitional Authority (NTA)’ and yet they don’t understand or see what is wrong – a fundamental attack on the most important feature, a pillar on the constitution in terms of constitutional and democratic governance, which is the consent question based on the right to vote,” he said.
“Why are people not agitating around this? When and how are Zimbabweans going to settle the question about the means of rising into power and means for exiting power? Zimbabweans always think that they will resolve the question of getting into power mediation by external and facilitation by external forces. Do Zimbabweans think they will govern best through forced GNUs, though forced NTAs?”
Prof Moyo highlighted that the right to vote was fundamental and a very important question.
“If Zimbabwe cannot respect the right to vote, cannot fight and defend by making sure that votes cast are the same as votes counted, how then do they expect the system or anyone else to respect the individual as a citizen?
“How then do they expect the state, the regime to respect the worker, civil servant and the journalist? Is it any wonder that we see some of these things happening, after all the dark experience of the independence period, the Gukurahundi genocide in 1980 to 1987, electoral atrocities?” asked the former minister.
He noted this was why there was a web of confusion in the description of the Zimbabwean crisis.
“People want to define the crisis as Zanu PF, MDC Alliance, Civic Society, Independence but if citizens defend what is entrenched in the constitution for protection of everyone, it becomes possible that no institution, no person can corrupt the right to vote.
“Then we can have an electoral system that reflects the vote cast and put the issue of Zimbabwe conflicts for the last 40 years behind because the resolution of all questions on the crisis depend on the exercise of the right to vote and the consent question,” Prof Moyo said.
He added that recall MPs was to change the result of election in an “outrageous way where outright big losers are going to Parliament while the MDC Alliance, which campaigned actually did not win a single constituency.”