Mixed views over Khupe’s return to Parliament

Political analysts have expressed mixed views over former MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe’s return to Parliament Wednesday, two years after her expulsion in April 2018.

Khupe, now acting president of MDC-T according to the March 31 Supreme Court ruling which nullified Nelson Chamisa’s presidency, was recalled by her party from Parliament when the leadership wrangle intensified following the death of MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018.

She went on to contest the presidential polls in the same year and lost.

The former leader of the opposition, was however sworn-in as a Member of Parliament together with 14 other members of her party replacing MDC Alliance members, which her faction recalled recently.

The former deputy prime minister said she would reassume her position as the leader of the opposition in the August house.

“From whichever angle one looks at it Khupe and her MPs are in Parliament, legally,” said Methuseli Moyo, a political analyst.

“All other arguments don’t matter now. Obviously, this is a bitter pill to swallow for the rival faction but they have to live with it. It all started with the fiasco triggered by the succession battle after Tsvangirai’s death. Both sides have been scheming and winning and losing some. Khupe has won this one. Maybe she deserves it. Only the court could and can protect the ‘weak’ from the strong.”

Moyo said there was no longer any opposition to talk about in Zimbabwe.

“The opposition must reposition itself and reorganise,” he said.

“Right now it has been torn into pieces, due to both its recklessness, and the exploitation of that by the ‘enemy’.”

Khanyile Mlotshwa, another political analyst said: “From going through Twitter, it is clear that MDC-Alliance supporters feel betrayed, not only by people they have always felt are fellow democrats but by the democratic processes. It means they have no representation at all, yet they voted for people they wanted to represent them.”

He said until the next elections the MDC-Alliance supporters would remain disenfranchised with no representation.

Mlotshwa said Khupe’s return to Parliament would not add any value to the August House.

“From an opposition perspective, the quality of one’s input can only be measured on the basis of how much they hold the government to account,” argued Mlotshwa.

“From what has been happening, I doubt Khupe will do that. I doubt if her entry will improve any parliamentary engagements.”

Opposition politicians and political parties, Mlotshwa said, now have to do some introspection.

“Things do not look that good for opposition politics in the country,” he said.

“It has been thoroughly hit to submission by the ruling party’s aggressive posture. Opposition politics must imagine another politics outside the one currently subsisting in the country.”

Sipho Nyoni, also a political commentator, said the return of Khupe raises a lot of questions to the ordinary voter on Zimbabwe’s electoral system.

“For the MDC alliance supporters who did not vote for Khupe and her party this will come as somewhat of a shock and surprise how someone whose party didn’t garner enough votes to warrant any parliamentary seats in the previous election now finds herself at the threshold of being the official opposition leader,” said Nyoni.

“They (MDC Alliance supporters) will feel hard done by and some will even begin to question democracy as a function of politics and altogether lose any trust whatsoever they had in the Zimbabwean electoral system if someone can be so easily gifted what she didn’t even have to work hard for.”

Like Mlotshwa, Nyoni said the return of Khupe to Parliament would not benefit it adding it was rather for perks and self-enrichment.

“Khupe’s bouncing back into Parliament speaks more into the circus that is Zimbabwe’s opposition as well as the ruling party’s unending obsession of making this country into a one party state,” he posited.

“It in essence signifies and exposes all the systems clogging democracy in Zimbabwe, if there is in fact any democracy to write home about in this country. At best Khupe and her party will be a mere extension of Zanu-PF as they somehow owe their political comeuppance to the ruling party.”

He added: “The opposition namely the MDC Alliance itself to blame for the current happenings bedevilling it. In fact it dismally failed to stick to constitutionalism within its own backyard.”

Opposition ZAPU spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said democracy in Zimbabwe was not practised the way it should be.

“Our Parliament is captured; it has never been effective under the current setup,” he said. “Without overhauling the whole legislative system, anybody’s presence is of no effect. By definition, democracy is a system of governance where every voice is heard, every opinion is considered, including the so-called minority and vulnerable groups.”

He added: “A winner takes all system is never democracy but a primitive majoritarian system that has for decades suppressed and marginalised sections of our society for narrow political reasons.”

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