By Staff Reporter
THE United States says it is following events in Zimbabwe “closely”, including the recall of MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti from parliament last week.
Biti and several MDC Alliance MPs were last week recalled from parliament after a fringe political party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Lucia Matibenga wrote to the Speaker of the Assembly saying the legislators were no longer party officials.
The former Harare East MP formed PDP after his shock split from the main MDC 2014 only to find his own the splinter group further split with Matibenga controlling the other faction which last week brought the recall action to the national assembly..
However, in a statement Tuesday morning, the US Department of State spokesperson, Ned Price accused Zanu PF of misusing levers of government to silence critics, neutralise the opposition, and entrench its political power over the citizens.
“The United States is following events in Zimbabwe closely, including the troubling moves on March 17 to strip Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC Alliance) Vice President Tendai Biti and other MDC Alliance members of their elected seats in Parliament,” Price said.
“Since March 2020, parliamentary manoeuvers supported by the Zimbabwean government have led to the ouster of 39 MDC Alliance MPs and 81 local elected officials. These actions subvert the will of voters, further undermine democracy, and deny millions of Zimbabwean citizens their chosen representation.”
He added the US continued to monitor efforts by the government to dismantle the MDC Alliance through the arrest and detention of its leaders and diversion of its assets.
The MDC Alliance is no longer receiving funds under the Political Parties (Finance) Act after the money was accorded to the rival MDC-T last year.
The MDC Alliance was also last year kicked out of its headquarters, Harvest House, and other provincial party offices with MDC-T now using the buildings.
Said the US government, “We also note the government’s selective enforcement of Covid-19 regulations to indefinitely postpone by-elections and prohibit MDC Alliance gatherings, while permitting internal elections and gatherings for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) party and its allies to go forward.
“Zanu PF is misusing the levers of government to silence critics, neutralize opposition, and entrench its political power over the Zimbabwean people.
“We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to comply with its obligation to respect the freedoms of expression and association enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution and its international commitments.”
However, Biti this week said his ouster from parliament was engineered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as he (Biti) was investigating high level corruption in government and business-people linked to the ruling Zanu PF.
“They just fired us unconstitutionally. How do you fire someone who belongs to a different political party? We can’t fire ourselves. But it doesn’t matter. This is Emmerson,” he said.
Biti said the public accounts committee, which he chaired had been “doing a decent job in exposing corruption”.
“We exposed massive defaults and omissions, forcing the government to bring before parliament a Bill in which they sought condonation of US$10.6 billion, which they had stolen and used without parliamentary approval.
“In the next few weeks, we were going to table before parliament, a report locating Command Agriculture in the military. So, the corruption in Zimbabwe is a conflation of the securocratic state and Zanu PF to create what I’m calling ‘the Deep State’.”
One of the businesspersons heavily involved in the Command Agriculture is Kuda Tagwirei, the head of the company Sakunda Holdings.
“So this report will expose Kuda Tagwirei badly,” Biti said.
“Another report that I was supposed to table (Thursday) is a report on the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority and that report will show cartels. This time white cartels.”