via Chidyausiku to rule on 21 MDC-T MPs today | The Herald March 31, 2015
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku will today determine whether or not the Constitutional application by the 21 MDC-T legislators who were recently expelled from Parliament is urgent.
The 21 members — 17 from the National Assembly and four from the Senate — were expelled from Parliament recently after the MDC-T led by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the president of the Senate seeking their seats to be declared vacant.
Parliament expelled the legislators aligned to the Sekai Holland-led Renewal Team after MDC-T disowned them, saying they were no longer representing its interest in the House after they joined the recently formed political outfit, United Movement for Democratic Change.
The new party is a merger between the Renewal Team and Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC.
The Renewal Team spokesperson Mr Jacob Mafume, confirmed that the matter will be heard today.
“The matter has been set down for tomorrow 12 noon before Chief Justice Chidyausiku in his chambers.
“He will only deal with the issue of urgency,” said Mr Mafume.
The 21 last week filed a constitutional application seeking nullification of Parliament’s decision.
Two separate applications were filed — one in respect of 17 MPs who lost their National Assembly seats and the other for four who were expelled from the Senate.
The 21 argued that their expulsion was unconstitutional as there was no proof that they were no longer with MDC-T and that the courts were still to determine the legitimate party between the Tsvangirai-led group and the Biti faction.
It is the group’s position that the court should nullify the decision and wait for the courts to decide which group was legitimate.
The group argued that National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda and Senate president Edna Madzongwe, ought to have granted them audience before making a ruling.
It is the group’s contention that the two acted like judges and regarded the Tsvangirai-led party as the legitimate one.
The legislators argued that they were still MDC-T members and that they never resigned.
It is further argued that Mr Tsvangirai had no power to fire them considering that the real party owners were yet to be determined in pending court cases.
Section 129 (1) (k) invoked to fire the group, according to the application, does not apply to the situation.
It is the group’s argument that nothing has changed from the time when Parliament refused to adjudicate over the MDC-T dispute and that there was no proof that the Renewal group had formed the United MDC as alleged.
It is argued that Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe only existed to prevent floor crossing and it was not a recall position.
The group argued that the Constitution does not provide for recalling of legislators.
Parliament’s decision was described as muddled, grossly unreasonable, incompetent and in breach of the people’s right to equal protection of the law as guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Parliament’s decision is also alleged to have breached the legislators’ right to form, join and participate in the activities of a political party of their choice.
The group’s right to stand for election and, if elected, to hold public office was also infringed by the decision, they argued.
The expulsion reduced the MDC-T seats in Parliament from 91 to 70, with the opposition party now having 32 seats in the National Assembly from 49 and 17 seats in the Senate from 21.
Zanu-PF has 192 seats in the National Assembly down from 197, with by-elections due in five constituencies it previously held, but fell vacant due to expulsions, deaths and the elevation of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and former Vice President Joice Mujuru.