The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has declared 15 seats in the National Assembly and Senate vacant after the MDC-T recalled the legislators.
In a gazetted notice recently, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said ZEC had been formally notified by Parliament of the 15 vacancies.
Senators elected on the party lists and the extra women Members in the National Assembly elected by proportional representation are chosen by political parties in proportion to the votes received by their candidates in the constituency elections to the National Assembly.
If one of these seats falls vacant the original party nominates the successor.
The gazetted list of those losing seats in the National Assembly is: Thabitha Khumalo, Virginia Zengeya, Anna Myambo, Bacillia Majaya, Machirarwa Mugidho, Francisca Ncube and Nomathemba Ndlovu. The list for Senate is: Siphiwe Ncube, Gideon Shoko, Helen Zivira, Keresencia Chabuka, Tapfumaneyi Wunganayi, Herbert Sinampande, Meliwe Phuti and Lilian Timveous.
The legislators were recalled in terms of a constitutional provision that declares seats held by members of the party that sponsored them in the last election vacant if the party writes to the Speaker of the National Assembly or to the Senate President to declare that the persons no longer represented that party.
In an interview on Sunday, MDC-T secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora said the MDC-T was proceeding to nominate replacements for the 15 MPs and Senators.
“We are replacing those elected under Proportionate Representative and we await guidance on those MPs that had constituencies. There is nothing that stops us from replacing them because we have appealed against a High Court judgment which interdicted us from replacing two Senators and noting of an appeal has the effect of suspending that judgment,” Mr Mwonzora said.
While vacancies in the constituency seats in the National Assembly require by-elections, vacancies in the special women’s seats and in the Senate seats do not. Instead the political party to which the former incumbents belonged to can nominate replacements. ZEC then lists the nominees. If there are no valid objections, ZEC will gazette the nominees as elected.
The MDC -Alliance has condemned the recalls, saying the recalled Parliamentarians were all elected on an MDC-A ticket while the MDC-T argues that the MDC-A was simply an electoral alliance and that the MDC-T, now led by Dr Thokozani Khupe following a Supreme Court judgment has the right to recall those whom the MDC-T nominated in the MDC-A list.