Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
The MDC-T leadership wrangle continues to fester after it emerged that expelled vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe will be challenging her expulsion from Parliament at the Constitutional Court today.
Dr Khupe, who was the MDC-T Proportional Representation Member of Parliament, was expelled from the august House last week after controversially installed MDC-T leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, claiming that she no longer represented the opposition party’s interests.
Dr Khupe, who is being represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku, is expected to file her Constitutional Court challenge today.
“We are filing the application tomorrow (today),” said Prof Madhuku.
“Today (yesterday) we spent our time working on the papers. My client was busy collecting documents from Parliament. We have now put all the documents together.”
Prof Madhuku said the court should determine whether or not Parliament fulfilled its Constitutional obligation of ensuring that a seat of a Member of Parliament can only be lost strictly in accordance with the Constitution.
Mr Chamisa, who has had a nasty fall out with Dr Khupe over the leadership of the opposition party, especially after the death of party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai on February 14, last week recalled Dr Khupe from Parliament after MDC-T’s national council — regarded as the opposition party supreme decision-making organ in between congresses — unanimously agreed to expel her from the party.
Dr Khupe was accused of misconduct and intransigence.
On Thursday last week, acting Speaker of Parliament Reuben Marumahoko informed the house that by operation of the law, a vacant seat now exists in the Bulawayo Metropolitan province.
“I would like to notify this House that on the 10th of April, 2018, Parliament was notified by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) that Honourable Dr Thokozani Khupe, Proportional Representation Member of Parliament, had ceased to be a member of the Movement for Democratic Change and therefore, no longer represents the interests of the party in Parliament,” said Cde Marumahoko.
Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that: “A seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a Member when elected to Parliament.”
Last week, Dr Khupe said she had not been formally informed about her removal from the august House.
The MDC-T drama took a new twist on Friday, a day after Mr Chamisa wrote to Parliament, when Dr Khupe — who still claims to be the legitimate leader of the MDC-T — wrote a letter ostensibly recalling Mr Chamisa as House of Assembly member for Kuwadzana East constituency.
In her letter, Dr Khupe advised Parliament to expel Mr Chamisa in terms of Section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution.
“This letter serves to formally advise your office that Hon Nelson Chamisa is no longer a member of the MDC-T party that is currently led by acting president Thokozani Khupe,” read the letter.
“Hon Chamisa’s membership of the party has been terminated after he has wilfully and deliberately violated the constitution of the MDC-T by passing himself off as the president of the party.”