Parliamentarians and Senators represent the people who want them to represent them in the august house. When you go to Parliament or Senate, your conscience should be clear that the people you purport to represent want you to represent them – whether they elected you directly through the ballot for a constituency seat, or whether their votes enabled you to represent them through proportional representation. Fortunately, the Constitution of Zimbabwe accommodates this democratic requirement which allows for people to be represented in Parliament and Senate by the persons they chose to represent them. One should, therefore, never impose themselves as a representative of the people in the august house without the consent of the people to be represented.
However, unfortunately, sometimes the judiciary is not always fair, as they may also fail to appreciate the wishes of the people, and in Zimbabwe Parliament Administration sometimes wrongly interprets court rulings or deliberately make decisions that are unjustifiable while Government also acts against the wishes of the people. If people chose someone to represent them, that person must represent them until the people themselves no longer want that person to represent them, and it is the people who elected the parliamentarians and senators whose decisions must be used to recall legislators.
Just to give a background on the recall of legislators history in Zimbabwe, this was a Zanu PF creation after the late Edgar Tekere continued to enjoy the right to represent the people after he had left Zanu pf. Zanu PF was irked by Tekere’s continued stay in Parliament, and then developed the law which allows political parties to recall members of Parliament/Senate when they no longer belong to the political party which elected them to Parliament.
Despite the law of recall being initially a Zanu PF creation, it is still a good piece of legislation, but the electorate must have a say in deciding whether legislators have to be recalled or not in the first place before they are even recalled. The structures of the political party which elected the legislator must be consulted if a party is to recall a legislator, whether the legislator got to parliament as a constituency legislator or proportional representation. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money to order a re-run to elect a constituency member of parliament when the recalled legislator will bounce back into parliament, and it is an abuse of the electorate’s right to recall a proportional representation legislator without the people who elected that legislator’s contributing their views. Unfortunately, the law is skewed in that regard.
Coming to the recent recall of MDC Alliance legislators by the MDC-T, that is criminal in all respects. The Supreme Court judgement that ruled that Dr Thokozani Khupe be Acting President of the MDC-T to organise the election of a substantial President for the MDC-T has been abused left right and centre, resulting in messy Zimbabwe is in now. The ruling was abused by Dr Khupe and her Team, by Parliament and by Government. In the first place, Dr Khupe’s court given mandate was to prepare an election, not to recall legislators. Parliament on its part communicated vacancies in Parliament to the Zimbabwe Elections Commission when there were still cases pending before the Courts regarding the recall; while Government disbursed money to Dr Khupe’s faction of the MDC-T even when a court of law had halted such disbursement. I may excuse the Zimbabwe Elections Commission because they act on the instruction of Parliament, and importantly, they have done the right thing to ask for objections from the people of Harare who rejected Linda Masarira in 2018 when she wanted to be a member of parliament for Harare Central and also given an opportunity for people to publicly reject Dr Thokozani Khupe, who they rejected in 2018 when she wanted to be their president. They may be several other rejected persons from the 2018 elections, who should be equally rejected by the people who rejected them in 2018.
Questions that people of Zimbabwe should ask themselves about each of the candidates proposed who contested in 2018 is “what has this person done to improve themselves since 2018 when we rejected them?” I am not sure if people will think Dr Khupe has improved since 2018 after she made comments announced by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that she will always support President Mnangagwa. I don’t also know what the people from the province Dr Khupe wants to represent in Parliament through proportional representation will say about her public statement that she is in politics to make money. Those who never attempted to represent the people in an election should also be scrutinised by the respective electorate to see if there are aspects of them that do not qualify them to represent the people.
People of Zimbabwe must be reminded that if they have objections to the imposition of legislators on them, they have to submit their objections by 4 September 2020. I am not familiar at this stage if submissions can be allowed through email, but this should be the case given the Covid-19 situation. I appeal to the Zimbabwe Elections Commission to allow emailed submissions, given that Government has been encouraging electronic means of communication to move with times, but also to mitigate the negative effects brought about by Covid-19. People making objections should give real names which the Zimbabwe Elections Commission can check with to see if they are registered in the respective Province where the parliamentarian or Senator is being proposed for. The Zimbabwe Elections Commission must also ignore submissions from people who say they approve the nomination because that is not what is asked for at law. If anything, people emailing to approve nominees must be charged for trying to prevent the course of justice, because it is the rights of the people opposed to the appointments at stake here.
Let us all be reminded that we are in all this messy because someone didn’t think enough to say, if the MDC-T as left by the late Dr Morgan Tsvangirai was not functional as all decisions it made until the time of the Supreme Court judgement was pronounced, then the parties that were operational at the time of the 2-18 elections have got the right to the outcome of the elections. The MDC Alliance, accepted to contest the 2018 elections, and the MDC-T accepted to contest 2018, in their forms as at the time of the elections, using the symbols they used for the elections, are the parties which have a right to recall legislators elected or appointed under their participation in those elections. The rest that is happening is madness, total madness and greedy, a plot by Zanu PF, Government and Dr Khupe and Senator Mwonzora and those associated with these to break the opposition.
And to the electorate, if you think these Senators and Parliamentarians communicated to the Zimbabwe Elections Commission by Senator Mwonzora, Acting Secretary-General of the resurrected MDC-T, you have the right reject them – do not use ignorance as an excuse. And to all those people reading this message, pass it on to the electorate. This nonsense must be stopped.