Mpariwa replaces Khupe as opposition leader in parliament
Harare – MDC Alliance secretary general Paurina Mpariwa (above) is the new leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, replacing former party deputy president Thokozani Khupe who was recalled from the House early this month.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda announced the development shortly before the August house began business on Tuesday.
“I also have to inform the House that I have received communication from Hon. Sen. Douglas Togaraseyi Mwonzora, President and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament advising that Hon. Paurina Mpariwa is now the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and consequently, Hon. Tekeshe becomes the Opposition Chief Whip, with Hon. Lwazi Sibanda as Deputy Chief Whip in the National Assembly,” he said.
Mpariwa crossed the floor from the then MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa in 2020 to join the MDC-T then led by Khupe.
Khupe took control of the MDC-T in 2013 following a Supreme Court ruling which declared her the legitimate leader of the party after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chamisa had usurped control of the opposition party before Tsvangirai had even been buried, elbowing out Khupe and the other co-vice president, Elias Mudzuri.
While Mpariwa had initially remained in the Chamisa camp after the Supreme Court ruling, she was later muscled out for allegedly being soft with Khupe and Mwonzora, whose camp she went on to join as factional wars tore the opposition apart.
Following the announcement, Independent legislator for Norton, Temba Mliswa rose on a point to congratulate Mpariwa on her elevation, saying she deserved it.
“My point of order is that it would be not proper for us to continue with the Session without congratulating Hon Mpariwa for being appointed the Leader of Government Business of the Opposition. It was mentioned by the Speaker and it is only proper for us to congratulate her. You are very capable. You have chaired many Committees; you are experienced and have been in Government before. So, we have no doubt that you will discharge your duties properly,” he said.
Mliswa however had the house in stiches when, after congratulating Tekeshe for being made the Chief Whip, he went on to advise the members to brew traditional beer and conduct ceremonies to appease their ancestral spirits so that they will not be recalled from Parliament.
“Endai munotendawo midzimu yenyu mobikawo doro kuti murambe muri ipapo. Musangodzingwawo sevanhu vari kundzingwa avo. Vamwe vacho vari kudzingwa havasi kubika doro ndozvinonetsa. Endai munobika doro isu tokupai mombe, but all the best (Go and thank your ancestors and brew traditional beer so that you remain there. So that you are also not recalled like those who are being recalled, Some of those who are being recalled are not brewing beer that is the problem. Go and brew beer and we will give you the cattle to sacrifice.)
Following the Supreme Court ruling, Khupe and Mwonzora went on a spree recalling legislators who remained loyal to Chamisa with the purges claiming the scalps of 28 lawmakers and 105 councillors, whose vacancies will now be filled after by-elections scheduled for March 26 this year.
Khupe herself was a beneficiary of the recalls, as she returned to the National Assembly to replace a legislator who she had recalled.
She had previously been recalled from the House by Chamisa after the two fell out of favour over control of the opposition party following the death of Tsvangirai.