via MDC to boycott Parly opening – DailyNews Live by Fungi Kwaramba 17 SEPTEMBER 2013
HARARE – Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC is snubbing President Robert Mugabe’s State official opening of Parliament Tuesday, as the opposition party pushes for fresh elections.
On the one hand the MDC maintains the elections were rigged and has refused to accept Mugabe’s victory, while on the other hand Zanu PF is unfazed, threatening to go it alone should the MDC maintain its boycott stance.
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora yesterday told the Daily News there was nothing to gain from attending Mugabe’s opening of Parliament.
“Our MPs are not going to Parliament and that is final.
“We are bound by the decisions of the national council,” said Mwonzora.
Asked whether the MDC is not just grandstanding in order to gain political mileage, Mwonzora said there is nothing to gain in attending the official opening by an “illegitimate president”.
“There is nothing to gain in attending Parliament, nothing special will come from the opening except the same old things, therefore we cannot bless fraud because that is exactly how Mugabe became president.”
Mugabe’s party has a two thirds majority and recently elected Jacob Mudenda speaker of Parliament after the MDC boycotted the election.
Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, said people were elected to Parliament to debate national issues and not to boycott them.
“It will make no difference whether they attend or not,” said Gumbo. “Those MPs who were elected will come and debate national issues and also witness the president officially opening Parliament. The MPs were elected to debate national issues and not to boycott.”
Mugabe told reporters last week after the swearing-in ceremony of Cabinet ministers that he did not include any MDC officials in his cabinet because Tsvangirai’s party did not accept the results of the hotly contested July 31 elections.
Initially the MDC considered not participating altogether in the Eighth Parliament, but has shifted stance opting rather to defend the small remaining space it has in the legislature.
The ex-majority party, which has 91 seats in a bloated Parliament with 356 MPs, is however, going to participate in parliamentary business.
The controversial opening of Parliament today is not a first of its kind.
In 2000, MDC legislators again shunned a traditional state reception hosted by Mugabe for MPs in protest of what it alleged was state-sponsored violence targeting its supporters.
In 2008, MDC parliamentarians jeered and booed Mugabe as he opened Parliament again over allegations of electoral violence and fraud.
Mwonzora said the boycott is meant to send a message to Mugabe that he is not the legitimate president.
The MDC led by Welshman Ncube, which has two seats courtesy of the proportional representation system, says it is going to attend the official opening.