BY BRIDGET MANANAVIRE
Tom Phiri* popped out of a grocery shop at Areno shopping centre in Harare’s Kuwadzana suburb swinging a plastic bag with three tomatoes using his right hand.
Phiri also clasped a loaf of bread close to his chest using the left hand as he coolly walked home with that day’s breakfast for his family.
The man in his mid-fifties looked dejected if not lost. His clothes, pale and torn — a real signature of time — were true testimony that the man had been exposed to harsh economic conditions in recent times.
He blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF government for all that has gone bad in his life.
The recall of his Kuwadzana East MP, Charlton Hwende, from Parliament two weeks ago by the Thokozani Khupe- led MDC-T has added pepper to an open wound.
“This is daylight robbery. As if rigging is not enough, they want to remove our voice from Parliament,” Phiri said, refusing to disclose his real name fearing state security agents would target him.
“Anyway, who are those people who want to remove them? Who gave them the mandate to remove our MP in connivance with Zanu PF?
“We made our choice, they cannot be taking away our rights just like that.”
Hwende was recalled from Parliament alongside three other opposition MPs namely, chief whip Prosper Mutseyami (Chikanga Dangamvura MP), Tabitha Khumalo (proportional representation) and Midlands senator Lillian Timveos, by the Khupe MDC-T party following a Supreme Court ruling that declared her acting president.
This was after the court ruled that MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa was not the legitimate leader of the party, ordering the party to go back to the 2014 structures.
Chamisa’s MDC Alliance colleagues Douglas Mwonzora and Morgen Komichi immediately embraced the court ruling and jumped ship to join the Khupe faction, recalling the four MPs as they tried to assert their authority in the opposition party.
Chamisa has accused Mwonzora and Khupe of working with Zanu PF to destabilise his party that has refused to endorse Mnangagwa’s narrow electoral victory in the 2018 general elections.
Another voter in Kuwadzana East, who also refused to be named, said she was devastated by the recall after waking up in the wee hours to join a queue to vote for a person of her choice, only to be told that she voted for someone else.
“Do you know what time I woke up in July 2018 to go and vote and how much time I stood in that queue?
“This is just a joke; the whole thing is a joke,” the voter, who opted to be identified as Zvichapera said.
“And I bet you next time I might as well join those people who say it doesn’t matter whether one votes or not.
“It is better to spend the day sleeping and doing something else than waste it on something that won’t change my life.
“They can do what they want. It does not matter who is there anyway, and nothing changes.”
The Kuwadzana East constituents said they were taking measures to resist the recall of their MP.
Hwende and the other MPs have already approached the courts to challenge their recall.
The party’s constituency representatives said they decided to express their displeasure as the people on the ground and as the people affected by National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda and Senate president Mabel Chinomona’s decision to accept the recall of MDC Alliance representatives by MDC-T.
“As Kuwadzana East, we are not accepting the recalling of our MP,” MDC Alliance Kuwadzana East organising secretary Wellington Mariga said.
“How can it make sense that the MDC- T, which had its own candidate, Wurayai Mangwiro, who competed against Hwende in the elections, recalls an MDC alliance MP?”
Mariga added: “We are going to court to challenge this and will also be petitioning Parliament to show them what they did is not legal.
“We are the affected people and we cannot just fold our arms while people mess up with our home.
“We have drafted a petition and will be getting signatures from the constituency and submit it.”
Mariga said the decision to petition Parliament and also launch a court challenge was reached after the leadership of the constituency in the party met to discuss the way forward after the recalling of their MP.
“The top 10 executives met during the week, as well as the top 30. And this is the way forward that we came with,” he added.
*Not his real name