D-Day for MDC-T, Renewal MPs

Cde Mudenda

Cde Mudenda

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda is today expected to make a ruling on a bid by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T to recall 21 MPs from Parliament for being part of a new political outfit called the United Movement for Democratic Change.

In letters to Adv Mudenda and Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe a fortnight ago, MDC-T secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora said the recall was in line with Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution.

Of the 21 MPs, 17 are in the National Assembly and four are in the Senate.

Highly-placed sources at Parliament yesterday confirmed that Adv Mudenda would deliver his ruling today on the fate of the MDC-T parliamentarians, although Adv Mudenda was tight-lipped on the matter.

“I will not comment on that issue, but when the ruling is made, it would be known by everyone,” he said.

The affected legislators are Tendai Biti (Harare East), Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Lucia Matibenga (Kuwadzana East), Paul Madzore (Glen View), Reggie Moyo (Luveve), Solomon Madzore (Dzivaresekwa), Bekithemba Nyathi (Mpopoma Pelandaba), Albert Mhlanga (Pumula), Moses Manyengavana (Highfield West), Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (Lobengula), Roseline Nkomo (Tsholotsho North), Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo), Gorden Moyo (Makokoba) and Arnold Tsunga (Chikanga Dangamvura).

Those who got in through proportional representation are Evelyn Masaiti, Judith Muzhavazhe and Gladys Mathe.

In the Senate, Sekai Holland (Chizhanje), Rorana Muchihwa (Chikomo), Watchy Sibanda (Matabeleland South) and Patrick Chitaka (Manicaland), are also expected to know their fate today.

Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution, which is the basis of the recall, states 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 and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker of Parliament or the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the member has ceased to belong to it.

Apart from letters to the Parliament’s Presiding Officers, Mr Mwonzora also wrote to the individual MPs notifying them of their impending recall from the August House.

Legal experts say the issue is an open and shut case in the wake of the formation of UMDC.

The lawyers say four factors militate against the 21 MPs.

Firstly, MDC-T held a congress whose convening the 21 MPs did not challenge, did not participate in and whose outcome they did not challenge.

Secondly, they instead went on to form the UMDC with Professor Welshman Ncube and presented it to the public as such and went on to announce they would prepare for congress.

All this was in violation of Section 129(1) (k) of the Constitution.

MDC-T has since written to the Speaker of the National Assembly and president of the Senate for the recall of the renewal MPs.

Though no one from her party has written to Parliament for her recall, Ms Priscilah Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Tholakile Khumalo and Joyce Ndlovu, who are the two MDC senators, also stand on thin ice.

MDC Renewal spokesperson Mr Jacob Mafume has, however, dismissed the recall bid saying the Speaker had already given ruling on the matter before when he directed that the courts determine the bona fide MDC-T.

After losing dismally to Zanu-PF in the 2013 harmonised elections, MDC-T imploded amid calls for Mr Tsvangirai to step down resulting in power struggles that led to the formation of the splinter MDC Renewal.

The MDC Renewal has, however, agreed to form the UMDC with the Welshman Ncube-led MDC faction and that triggered the recall bid by MDC-T.

If the Speaker upholds MDC-T’s request to recall the 21 MPs, the MDC-T seats in Parliament would be reduced from 91 to 70.