Mixed feelings over parliamentary recalls

Political observers and analysts have expressed mixed feelings over the recalling from Parliament this week of MDC-Alliance vice president, Tendai Biti and five other members by their former party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The five other members are William Madzimure of Kambuzuma, Settlement Chikwinya — Mbizo, Kucaca Ivumile Phulu — Nkulumane, Sichelesile Mahlangu — Pumula and Regai Tsunga — Mutasa South.

The recent recalls come after dozens of others from the MDC Alliance by the rival faction of the MDC-T last year taking advantage of the Supreme Court ruling which nullified Nelson Chamisa’s presidency.

MDC Alliance has since accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of being behind recalls in a bid to decimate the opposition in the country and pave way for a one-party state.

MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza, said the recalls were a major setback on democracy.

“It’s a state capture,” said Chirowodza.

“Parliament will no longer be able to play its oversight role because the critical voices have been removed. The voices of constituencies represented by the recalled legislators have been shut out of Parliament, therefore the new dispensation is all but a new dispensation.”

Political analyst Effie Ncube said the development was working to the advantage of ZANU-PF.

“It is regrettable that the opposition is being emasculated in Parliament and to that extent it is a gain for ZANU-PF at a time when people need more accountability,” said Ncube.

“And as long as the opposition is undermined, accountability and the responsiveness of the state is undermined. So it is important that the approach to politics by the opposition does not give advantage to ZANU-PF at the end of the day because any advantage to ZANU-PF is a disadvantage to the people of Zimbabwe.”

Fortune Mlalazi a public administrator said it was regrettable that political parties were using the recalls to settle scores adding the late MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai set a wrong precedent in 2015 when he recalled 21 legislators from Parliament for differing with him in ideology.

“We are suffering from a bad legacy left by Morgan Tsvangirai,” said Mlalazi.

“I think we can do better. Now, when it comes to the recalls and their effect on democracy that is the major challenge that will haunt us for years.”

Another political analyst, Methuseli Moyo told CITE, further recalls were inevitable.

“It was always coming,” he said.

“In as much as the MDC Alliance can blame ZANU-PF or whoever for their situation, they created the mess by the manner they conducted themselves post Morgan Tsvangirai. They made it worse by forming an alliance with partners with issues hanging over their heads. In a way, the alliance inherited the issues, which keep exploding in their faces, the latest being the PDP debacle.”

Moyo said the impact of the opposition in the August House has since the 2018 election been, considering that ZANU-PF garnered more than two thirds majority.

“I think the moment Zanu PF garnered more than two-thirds majority the impact of the opposition became academic,” said Moyo.

“The latest recalls will further dampen opposition spirits. Debates that end one way, no matter the drama, have no consequences, except for generating news stories and public awareness.”

He added that the progress that had been made or that was being made by the opposition MPs in Parliament such as Biti, Chikwinya and Phulu by trying to hold the executive to be accountable had been reversed through recalls.

“We have gone 100 steps backwards because we are unable to hold such things,” said Mlalazi.

“Obviously, the ruling party has a hand. This has destroyed the people’s minds into believing that you can substitute democracy with some form of replacement, voodoo politics. That is our major challenge and I hope that one day people will wake up and try to sort it.”

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