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Movement for Democratic Change secretary Tendai Biti today scored his first victory against his more popular rival party leader Morgan Tsvangirai when the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda referred their case in which Tsvangirai is seeking to recall from Parliament nine legislators that sided with Biti to suspend him from the party. Biti, who is one of the legislators, argued that he, as secretary general, was the only person with powers to recall legislators. Mudenda said in a statement today: “As the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, l have studied the contents of the two similar letters addressed to me on the dates aforesaid. I have concluded that the letters contain no legal issues that require the Honourable President of the Senate or the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly to determine or rule on whether or not to act pursuant to the provisions of section 129 (1)(K) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. In any case, neither the Honourable President of the Senate nor the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly has any authority and role to play in the internal disciplinary actions, disputes or differences within political parties, which matters may be appropriately dealt with by a competent court.” Mudenda’s ruling is likely to result in a long-drawn battle that could be too costly for Tsvangirai because his faction does not have any money. The Biti faction not only has the money but it also has more resources. Biti himself is a lawyer and so is the faction’s spokesman Jacob Mafume. Mudenda’s action could also see more legislators, who were scared of losing their seats, changing sides.

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