Nduduzo Tshuma Political Editor
THE MDC-T has expelled Senator Matson Hlalo and recalled him from the Senate amid accusations of dictatorship and violation of the party constitution by embattled party leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The expulsion comes after a resolution by the MDC-T’s national council last October to sack Hlalo over alleged continuous defiance of a directive by the same body that members must not take the party to court without exhausting internal processes.
This was after Hlalo approached the courts in 2014 to nullify the election of Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda as the party’s provincial chairperson during a chaotic provincial congress.
According to a letter of expulsion addressed to Hlalo dated February, 2 this year and signed by MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora, the Senator was advised on October 29 last year to show cause why he shouldn’t be expelled.
“You chose not to exercise that right. Accordingly, in terms of Article 5.11 of the party constitution, the decision of the national council to expel you stands. This is therefore, to formally advise you of the termination of your membership of the party,” reads the letter.
Mwonzora also wrote to the Senate president Cde Edna Madzongwe notifying her of Hlalo’s expulsion.
“We advise that the above named senator for Bulawayo province has ceased to belong to the MDC-T as he has been expelled from the party. The party is therefore, recalling the said Member of Parliament in terms of section 129 (1) (k) of the constitution of Zimbabwe,” read the letter.
Mwonzora said the party was requesting that Hlalo be removed from the Senate in terms of the same section.
Hlalo’s election agent at the 2014 provincial congress Swithern Chirowodza yesterday confirmed that the former Bulawayo councillor was served with an expulsion letter but seemed to suggest that Tsvangirai was being led by the hand by his deputy Thokozani Khupe.
“The days of abiding by Khupe’s whims are over, we must abide by the rules and the law. We’ve become popular for accusing other parties of breaching the rule of law yet we breed dictatorship,” he said.
Chirowodza said the national council by censuring Hlalo for taking the party to court was in violation of the MDC-T constitution particularly Article 2 (1)which states that the party is capable of suing and being sued.
The expulsion of Hlalo comes three weeks after Tsvangirai visited Bulawayo structures and was reportedly booed in one of the engagements.
“He visited Nkulumane, Njube and Luveve and met the provincial structures where he told members that Banda was the bonafide Bulawayo provincial chairperson. In Nkulumane, he was booed by party members who reminded him of a standing court interdict barring Banda from office until Hlalo’s court challenge is heard,” said a party source.
“Tsvangirai in anger told the members that he would go back to Harare and was told to proceed. Three elderly women were assaulted by party youths at the meeting for allegedly opposing Tsvangirai.”
The sources accused Tsvangirai of breaching the party’s constitution to side with the Khupe led faction saying, “This is the same thing that drove the likes of Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti out of the party. Tsvangirai is always breaching the party’s constitution as and when it suits him.
“He loves accusing Zanu PF of violating the rule of law yet he’s the chief culprit at bending rules in pursuit of selfish interests.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu were fruitless.