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Zimbabwe

Zanu-PF MPs vote for Tsvangirai-backed candidate for speaker

Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

In Zimbabwe , at least four MPs from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party have voted for a candidate from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a tightly-contested poll for Speaker of Parliament.

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Lovemore Moyo of the MDC reclaimed the seat that he lost three weeks ago due to a Supreme Court ruling. And ruling party officials have admitted that means there is some disharmony in their party ahead of possible national elections.

Zanu-PF was determined to wrest the position from the MDC.

Analysts say that’s because the speaker would play a vital role if the coalition government collapses.

The vote was always going to be a tight contest between the two parties, in an uneasy coalition after years of conflict.

Not surprisingly tempers ran high.

There were dramatic scenes when the clerk of parliament first of all ejected Moyo from the house, saying he wasn’t eligible to vote, then swore in two more Zanu-PF MPs – all before the vote took place.

Zanu-PF was also fielding a Moyo – Simon Khaya Moyo, who is the Zanu-PF national chairman and the former ambassador to South Africa.

But the MDC’s Lovemore Moyo managed to reclaim the post by 105 votes to 93.

His victory was mainly due to a minority faction of the MDC, which decided to back Moyo at the last minute.

But, in a surprising turn of events, it has emerged that as many as four Zanu-PF MPs also voted for him – against their party’s own candidate.

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