Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Former Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa and his nephew Temba Mliswa yesterday filed a Constitutional Court application challenging their expulsion from Parliament.
However, in a move read as a sign of lack of confidence in the case, the pair’s lawyers did not file the application on an urgent basis which means it goes on the normal roll and can be heard even next year depending on the case load.
Parliament last week declared the duo’s positions in the National Assembly vacant following their dismissal from Zanu-PF.
This means by-elections would be called soon to fill in the two vacant seats, Headlands vacated by Mutasa and Hurungwe West by Mliswa.
Yesterday the pair’s lawyers Nyakutombwa, Mugabe Legal Counsel, filed an application challenging their dismissal from Parliament.
They argue that Zanu-PF did not follow due process in expelling the duo, hence the National Assembly Speaker’s decision to declare their seats vacant was a nullity.
Mutasa and Mliswa seek to bar any by-election in Headlands and Hurungwe West Constituencies.
National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda, President Mugabe, and the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Justice Rita Makarau were listed as respondents in the court application.
Mutasa and Mliswa allege that their expulsion from Parliament violated their constitutional rights, hence the decision must be nullified.
They say that their right to equal protection of the law enshrined under Section 56 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe was violated by the conduct of Adv Mudenda.
They also seek to bar any by-election in their respective constituencies.
The duo’s right to stand for election for public office, if elected, has also been violated by the Speaker’s declaration of March 3 this year, they allege.
Mliswa and Mutasa argue that their right to administrative justice was as protected by Section 68 of the Constitution has been infringed by the announcement of March 3.
The duo seek an order nullifying the Speaker’s announcement and the declaration.
The pair seeks an order declaring them legitimate members of the National Assembly for their respective constituencies.
Mliswa filed a supporting affidavit, associating himself with the main affidavit deposed by Mutasa.
He added that his expulsion from Parliament was a humiliating incident because he had not been notified in advance.
“I was in the House on March 3 2015 when the first respondent (Adv Mudenda) made his announcement.
“He had not informed me about his announcement prior to making it.
It was the most humiliating experience for me to have to leave the House abruptly and without prior warning,” said Mliswa.
To make matter worse, Mliswa said, he had approached the Speaker in his office trying to explain his case and to find out his attitude.
“I made an effort to meet the first respondent (Adv Mudenda) in person after reading in the press that some members of my party may have written to him seeking my expulsion from Parliament.
“I met him in his office in the morning of March 3 2015. I told him about my position that my purported expulsion was a nullity and that I was awaiting the outcome of pending court challenges to be instituted by the first applicant (Mutasa).
“He refused to tell me what he intended to do,” said Mliswa.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe is expected to call the by-elections once formally notified of the vacancies by the Speaker.
Under the Constitution, when an MP elected on a party ticket is no longer a member of the sponsoring party, then the seat must be declared vacant.
Mutasa and Mliswa were expelled from Zanu-PF three weeks ago after they continued to undermine the revolutionary party and its leadership despite several warnings to desist from doing so.