BY MOSES MATENGA
THE High Court is today expected to decide whether or not Benjamin Rukanda’s recall of Harare East MP Tendai Biti and five others should stand after his membership of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was questioned.
This came after Rukanda successfully filed for the MPs’ recall after he presented himself as a bona fide PDP secretary-general at the time of its split.
But High Court judge Justice Amy Tsanga set aside Rukanda’s recall of the MPs saying he was not the bonafide secretary-general of the PDP.
Instead, the court heard that Settlement Chikwinya was party secretary-general before its split ahead of the 2018 polls.
Rukanda has, however, appealed against the ruling and the matter is set to be heard today.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda told NewsDay yesterday that it was not the responsibility of Parliament to recall MPs, adding that the matter was before the courts hence his hands remained tied to further comment on the issue.
“MPs are not recalled by Parliament, they are recalled by their parties. Go back to the courts again and be updated on what has transpired after that,” Mudenda said.
Biti’s lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara said they were in the process of filing opposing papers ahead of today’s hearing.
“They filed an urgent chamber application for stay of execution so it is being heard (today). We are opposing it obviously,” Bhatasara said.
“They want to have a rescission of the order that we got. If the stay is granted, it means we will wait (from going back to Parliament) until the application of the rescission is decided,” Bhatasara said.
The six were recalled after High Court judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba ruled that the PDP faction led by Lucia Matibenga had the capacity at law to recall PDP MPs and councillors sponsored by the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa.
However, the Biti camp argues that Matibenga and her team ceased to be members of the PDP after joining the Rainbow Alliance led by Joice Mujuru ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.
The six MPs joined a long list of MPs recalled from Parliament for aligning with the MDC Alliance.