Settlement Chikwinya, who held the Mbizo seat in the Midlands city of Kwekwe, and Solomon Madzore, the former MDC-T youth leader who represented Dzivaresekwa in Harare, said their expulsion had devastated the electorate. They both expressed fears of voter apathy in future elections.
The two were among the 21 Renewal MPs who were removed from parliament following a request by Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, which argued that they must cease holding the seats that they won on that ticket in 2013.
“The electorate in my constituency is very bitter with us, and I must admit that I am feeling guilty for being a part to the processes that have generated so much anger among voters. We allowed our personal differences to move ahead of the national agenda to democratise Zimbabwe and this is the result. The people are seeing that and they are also disappointed,” Chikwinya told The Zimbabwean.
“My fear is that we have short-changed them so much they will stay away from future elections. There will be massive voter apathy in 2018 unless a new force emerges. The people are angry and they will punish the opposition,” he added.
He said the splintering that took place in MDC in 2005 when Welshman Ncube broke away and in 2014 when Biti led away another group had “severely weakened” the opposition. “The splits have given Zanu (PF) the chance to do as it pleases. It will go to sleep and deploy vicious guard dogs at the gate. We have failed the struggle,” he said.
MPs get a basic monthly salary of around $800, in addition to allowances that sum up to $600. Chikwinya said they hardly got sitting allowances and parliament still owed them thousands of dollars.
The affected MPs still have to pay back the money they received to purchase cars and are making arrangements with CBZ Bank, which handled the purchases, according to Chikwinya.
Madzore said the removal of the 21 and the fights with Tsvangirai’s party had robbed constituencies of brave politicians and made the urban electorate vulnerable to Zanu (PF) manipulation and abuse.
Like the rest of the fired legislators, he will not participate in the by-elections set for June 10 after their seats were declared vacant. “Zanu (PF) now has a chance to gain ground in urban areas. That means people will become more vulnerable to political persecution and neglect, as is the case wherever that party is involved.
Even though I am not participating in the by-elections, that does not mean I have given up the struggle. Yes, there will be apathy in 2018, but I will be there. We are using the boycotts to fight for an even playing field,” he said.Post published in: News