Chidyausiku to rule on Mutasa, Mliswa

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku will on Monday determine whether the constitutional application by former Zanu-PF secretary for administration Mr Didymus Mutasa and his nephew Mr Temba Mliswa should be heard on an urgent basis.

In a move read as a sign of lack of confidence in the case, The Herald recently revealed that the pair’s lawyers did not initially file the application on an urgent basis, which means it would go on the normal roll and could be heard even next year depending on the case load.

However, yesterday Messrs Mutasa and Mliswa filed a chamber application to have their constitutional case heard urgently and the Chief Registrar of the superior courts, Mr Munamato Mutevedzi, set down the matter for Monday at 12 noon.

The two are contesting their expulsion from Parliament.

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 for soon to fill in the two vacant seats – Headlands, vacated by Mr Mutasa and Hurungwe West by Mr Mliswa.

Messrs Mutasa and Mliswa argue that Zanu-PF did not follow due process in expelling them, hence the National Assembly Speaker’s decision to declare their seats vacant was a nullity.

The two 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.

Messrs 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 Adv Mudenda’s conduct.

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.

The two argue that their right to administrative justice as protected by Section 68 of the Constitution had been infringed by the March 3 announcement.

The duo seeks an order nullifying the Speaker’s announcement and the declaration.

They also seek an order declaring them legitimate members of the National Assembly for their respective constituencies.

Mr Mliswa filed a supporting affidavit, associating himself with the main affidavit deposed by Mr Mutasa.

He added that his expulsion from Parliament was a humiliating incident because he had not been notified in advance.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe is expected to call for 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.

Messrs 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.