Tavengwa Mukuhlani’s Zanu PF parliamentary seat is on shaky ground after politicians from across the political divide berated the Mhondoro-Ngezi Member of Parliament (MP) for lobbying for sanctions against Zimbabwe Cricket.
Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi sounded an ominous warning to Mukuhlani saying his actions would not go unnoticed while Independent MP Temba Mliswa opined the businessman was walking a tight rope.
The Mukuhlani-led Zimbabwe Cricket Board has been at loggerheads with the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) after the quasi-government body suspended the ZC Board over alleged misconduct and fraud.
The Indian trained pharmacist then broke away from party policy to take on government head on as he travelled to the British capital and addressed the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board pleading the case of his administration.
A few days earlier his board had written to the world cricket governing body crying foul over “government interference” inviting ICC to suspend Zimbabwe.
The ICC ruled the action of the SRC amounted to government interference and has now given government up to October 8 to reinstate the suspended board or risk Zimbabwe’s membership being terminated.
Togarepi told Zim Morning Post that whether SRC’s actions amounted to government interference was not his place to debate but as a Zanu PF MP Mukuhlani has gone against everything that the ruling party represents.
“It’s wrong, morally it’s wrong, politically it’s wrong, it’s wrong on all fronts,” Togarepi fumed.
“You are a Zimbabwean first before you are anything else. It’s unforgiveable. There is nothing called targeted sanctions they affect your people. Sanctions don’t know who is wrong or correct everyone will suffer.”
Togarepi added Zanu PF MPs were mooting to move a motion lobbying to have any Zimbabwean who agitates for sanctions in any capacity to be stripped of their citizenship.
“If I am angry I seek solutions. I engage. Sanctions are the reason Zimbabwe is on its knees.
He added that it was a crying shame that Mukuhlani would lobby against the same government whom he is asking for allowance increments and vehicles.
Mliswa weighed in saying Mukuhlani’s actions were “disrespect of the highest order and won’t go unnoticed. One doesn’t expect such from a legislator. He’s bringing sport and the country into disrepute.”
MDC secretary for elections Jacob Mafume scoffed at the irony of Zanu PF consistently blaming the opposition for bringing the wrath of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“We have always said that Zanu PF are hypocrites and it is the highest hypocrisy that a Zanu PF MP can go to London and ask for sanctions against his country after pillaging cricket funds and he has the nerve to kneel or even lay on their belly begging for a decision that affect scores of families and the future of cricket as we know it,” said Mafume, adding:
“It shows that Zanu PF is the biggest sanction against Zimbabwe.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mukuhlani, who became a ZC Board member for the first time in 2003 and later rose to become the vice-chairman of the association, were fruitless.
His mobile phone was unreachable.
He also had not responded to questions sent to him by the time of publishing.
The ICC has since deliberated on the matter and was of the “unanimous view that the above acts, as well as the full terms of the SRC resolution, removing the democratically elected Board of the Zimbabwe Cricket are acts of government interference.”
“The ICC Board also unanimously resolved that, until otherwise decided by the ICC Board, ZC’s membership of the ICC is suspended with effect from 18 July 2019,” the ICC said in a letter to ZC earlier this week.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this means (a) (b) (c) (d) and includes that, for the period of such suspension, ZC: is deprived of all its rights as a member of ICC; shall not receive any distribution of surplus from ICC revenues; will have no rights to participate in any ICC Events or Cricket sanctioned by the ICC; will have no rights to attend or vote at any meetings,” ICC added.
The ICC said should Zimbabwe wish the ICC to reconsider its suspension, it is required to take all relevant steps to that the Board of Zimbabwe Cricket elected on 14 June 2019 is unconditionally reinstated.