Recalled Khupe cries foul, accuses Mudenda of bias

MDC-T leader, Dr Thokozani Khupe, has accused the executive and legislature of victimising and discriminating against her, after the two arms recognised Douglas Mwonzora as the legitimate party president, despite the party splitting into two formations.

Khupe’s sentiments come after she was served with a notice of recall from Parliament under Mwonzora’s orders while the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs also awarded him a share of the Political Parties Fund money.

The MDC-T leader described these acts as “unjustified inequality and unfair practice,” against her gender and made a clarion call to women to stand with each other to fight such abuse.

A split of the MDC-T was declared by Khupe on January 21, 2022, after noting that Mwonzora had violated their party constitution by declaring himself the leader of the MDC Alliance, another political party.

Khupe said she was stunned when she received a letter of expulsion from the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda even though she had written to the House and the Minister of Justice, Ziyambi Ziyambi, to treat both MDC formations fairly on January 24, 2022.

“On January 26, 2022, I received a letter from the Speaker through a courier FedEx, which was delivered to my house in Bulawayo including my colleague, Novula Mguni,  to the effect that we were recalled and we were no longer members of parliament,” she said while addressing press in Harare Wednesday.

Khupe, described this as odd and as leader of the opposition, claimed she had “never in the history of parliament, heard a member recalled through a letter sent to their home by FedEx.”

She said the recall was unprocedural as Parliament is not in session.

“My understanding of parliamentary operations is the speaker derives his powers from the mace, when he is sitting on his chair in the House of Assembly, in the presence of sitting members of parliament because to us the mace is the symbol of authority of the house and the speaker without the mace, the house cannot sit and it cannot make laws,” she said.

Khupe, who said was “being suffocated and cannot breathe” in such a political environment,  questioned why Mudenda had disregarded her letter, yet it was delivered on the same day as Mwonzora’s.

“He decided to ignore my party’s letter and took immediate action on Mwonzora’s letter. My letter was reconciliatory because I was pleading with the Speaker to exercise impartiality, whereas Mwonzora’s letter was vindictive,” she said, insisting Mwonzora had no ‘locus standi’ to recall her, as he was leader of another party.

“To make matters worse, the speaker in the recall letter did not mention the name of the party which gave the notice.”

Khupe’s argument is almost similar to concerns raised by the Citizens Coalition for Change (formerly MDC Alliance) when the party argued Mudenda’s actions were biased for allowing MP recalls without ascertaining the motive and their legality.

“This clearly demonstrates the bias, impartiality and inconsistency of the speaker. Splits in the MDC are not a new phenomenon,” Khupe said.

She stated after the first MDC split in 2005, between vice president, the late Gibson Sibanda and president, Morgan Tsvangirai, parliament recognised both formations until the end of their terms in 2008.

“This is where my issue of victimisation and discrimination is derived from. The two men split in 2005 but were allowed to coexist by this same institution. A woman and a man has split in 2022 -Thokozani Khupe and Douglas Mwonzora, the speaker decided to favour Mwonzora over me without even considering calling both parties for a discussion.”

Khupe claimed there was a glaring evidence of inequality, discrimination and victimisation.

“The speaker in his wisdom disregarded that and decided to take sides with another man. As a woman, I strongly feel victimised and discriminated against at the highest level,” she said

The MDC-T leader claimed the justice minister also sided with Mwonzora and failed to exercise impartiality.

“As if that was not enough, the minister of justice equally decided that the political parties grant will go to Mwonzora again. I wonder where the minister of justice derives his powers from to decide on which formation is legitimate,” she said.

“In 2014, the MDC split again, this time between Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti, the Secretary General and the Political Parties Fund were split between the two. In 2022 the same MDC-T has split between Khupe, the deputy president and Mwonzora and the sad reality is the minister of justice wants to give the full amount to Mwonzora. One shudders to think why.”

Khupe insisted these unfair practices were happening because she was a woman.

“But this time around because it’s Thokozani Khupe, a woman and Mwonzora, a man, the minister of justice wants to give the full amount to Mwonzora. Surely what can one call this, than seeing it as unjustified inequality and unfair practice,” she said.

“In these two instances, I have been discriminated against because I am a woman. It’s very clear that when it comes to my case there is selective application of rules and regulations. Time has come for women to rise and say this far and no further, our voices are being silenced and disempowered.”

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