“Stop Subverting The People’s Will Through Recalls”
10 April 2022
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Dear Editor,

When the MDC split for the first time in 2005, no Member of Parliament was recalled. They were all allowed to freely take sides with either the group which included Professor Welshman Ncube and the late Gibson Sibanda, or the one led by the late Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai.

I recall Blessing Chebundo initially going with the late Gibson Sibanda’s group but later returned to the Morgan Tsvangirai-led group.

This was a gentlemen’s agreement and a preferred way of resolving issues. It should be noted that at this point in time, Mr. Douglas Mwonzora was not in the leadership ranks of the MDC.

Fast forward to 2013/14, the MDC-T led by Dr. Tsvangirai split again, this time, Mr. Tendai Biti and Mr. Elton Mangoma led one faction while Dr. Tsvangirai led another. By then. Mr. Mwonzora had an influential role in the party.

Unlike the gentlemen’s agreement of 2005 where there were no recalls, this time Mr. Biti and those who were on his side were recalled from Parliament. Would one say it was the influence of Mr. Mwonzora, given that the same had not happened in 2005?

Reflecting on the two scenarios above, and in my analysis of the situation, recalls should not apply where splits occur in political parties where a large number of MPs choose to separate, such as the split which separated Advocate Nelson Chamisa and Mr. Douglas Mwonzora.

Interestingly, Mr. Mwonzora told a press conference held after the announcement of the 26 March by-election that he was not going to recall more MPs, saying the process to recall sixteen Councillors announced just before the 2022 by-elections had begun way back in September of 2021, and there was no intention to recall more people from councils, parliament or senate.  

MDC-T Chairman Morgan Komichi admitted that the people had rejected the MDC-T. The people who elected parliamentarians and councilors who were recalled had shown the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-T that Mwonzora and his team were in the wrong direction.  With this in mind, Mr. Mwonzora, Mr. Komichi, and the rest of the MDC-T leadership must allow parliamentarians who the people want back to where they are to go back to where the people who elected are, to the new Citizens Coalition for Change without recalling them.

Importantly, the recall legislation does not say a political party must recall parliamentarians who cross the flow, but it says they can. Given this is a split, and taking into account the wishes of the people who elected them, those members of parliament who are called back to the party which represents the wishes of the people who elected them, by the people who elected them, should not be recalled.

Politics is the people, not the leaders, so when you find that the larger percentage of the people after the split of a party is not on your side, you should concede to the fact that yours is not the party that sponsored those parliamentarians and councilors.   

Mr. Mwonzora, please stick to your post-election press conference message of not intending to recall any more parliamentarians and councilors. Please allow the parliamentarians to reconsider the people who elected them, and go join them where they are without them losing their seats.

This will demonstrate political maturity, such as the maturity that Morgan Tsvangirai and Gibson Sibanda had when they decided that parliamentarians should freely align themselves with the side they wanted to belong to without being recalled.

It is sheer cruelty to keep hostage because they fear losing their parliamentary seats, which to some are their only source of income. In any case, you will be destroying yourself from within by keeping disgruntled officials around you, and just let them go and make them and the people who elected them happy without punishing them, as long as you retain the allocation of money due under the Political Parties Finance Act

I hope this piece of advice falls on some listening ears. Please be a gentleman and respect the wishes of the people so that your political shelf-life is extended.

Kennedy Kaitano