MDC may boycott opening of parliament

MDC may boycott opening of parliament

22 August 2008
Robert Mugabe will open parliament on Tuesday but the Tsvangirai-led MDC may boycott the ceremony. Acting spokesperson Tapiwa Mashakada said a strategic planning meeting will be held on Sunday to decide whether to participate in the opening ceremony. However the MDC parliamentarians will attend the swearing in ceremony on Monday.


There is growing concern that by convening parliament ZANU PF will have declared the ongoing talks between the political parties a non event. The rivals signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they agreed that parliament would not be convened, until there was consensus by all the party leaders.


The MDC says it will participate in the swearing in of parliamentarians because it is the completion of the election process.  They will be sworn in by the clerk of parliament. Mashakada said the swearing in is a technical exercise. He said: This is the fulfilment of the democratic mandate that was imposed on them (MPs) by the electorate on the 29th of March, but what happens on Tuesday is a matter of conjecture. We still have to meet on Sunday to map our attitude and respond to the Tuesday event as a party and as a parliamentary caucus.


Another MDC official said the mood in the party is to boycott Mugabe’s convening of parliament. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: We see the opening ceremony by a person who is being contested as President coming in to masquerade as the legitimate leader. Effectively Mugabe faces the risk of addressing a ZANU PF conference in parliament on Tuesday.


The other MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara, which has 10 seats in parliament, is expected to attend both functions this coming week.


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